Step by step

Get an OTC permit for your commercial project

Follow our instructions to comply with our commercial construction requirements to get your building permit.

The Department of Building Inspection reviews every building permit application for life safety and building code compliance.

Most commercial projects can be reviewed over-the-counter. Review our instructions to prepare the right forms and book a time to submit your building permit application.

(Some businesses are eligible for a 30-day review for business permits under Proposition H. See details about small business permit review in 30-days.)


Check if your project qualifies for OTC

These commercial projects qualify for over-the-counter review:

  • Commercial tenant improvement projects
  • Office or other B occupancy remodels
  • Power door operators
  • Permits to comply with the Accessible Business Entrance program

All commercial building projects require architectural plans. Hire a designer or architect. 

Create your building project plans

Bring 2 sets of plans when you submit your building permit application. 

All other commercial projects must be reviewed in-house.

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Fill out forms about your role on the project

We need to know your role on the project to apply for an OTC permit.

See: Who can obtain a building permit

Pick the form that applies to you.

Print them and bring them with you when apply for a building permit.

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Check commercial construction requirements

Check our required processes to apply for a building permit for a commercial project.

Check commercial construction requirements

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Fill out the permit application form

You will need property and construction details to fill out our building permit application.

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Fill out the Green Building form

All building permit applications must fill out our Green Building forms.

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Fill out water use forms

For construction projects that add new water fixtures or fire sprinklers, fill out this form.

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Fill out the Health Plan Review form

Fill out this form to determine if your project requires Health Plan Review.

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Submit your application


2 to 8 hours

Come to the Permit Center to submit your application.

If your project needs plans, bring 2 sets of plans when you submit your building permit application.

You will get a building permit application number.

We will review your application, check your plans, and route your application to the required stations in person.

You may need to come back on a separate day to finish your plans.

Please note that the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) is now conducting all disabled access review as part of our plan review.

Plans requiring a DBI permit that are not project managed by the Department of Public Works no longer need to go to Mayor’s Office on Disability (MOD) for accessibility review and inspection.

Project plans currently under review by MOD that are not finalized by June 30, 2023 will complete and be finalized with DBI-assigned accessibility specialists. As of July 1, 2023, new projects will be fully reviewed by DBI, including for accessibility. 

MOD will continue to review projects that do not require a permit, will continue to conduct ADA Title II barrier removal inspections and provide technical assistance regarding disability access compliance and best practices, including but not limited to compliance with the American's with Disabilities Act. 

Starting July 1, DBI will also be conducting disability access inspections. More information will be available soon.

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Recheck your plans

You may need to update your plans to address plan check comments.

After you address plan check comments, recheck your plans with the plan checker from your first review. Schedule with your plan checker by email.

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Get related permits

During your permit review process, you may also need to:

  • Get a street space permit
  • Apply for trades permits 

For registered contractors, use instant online permits for electrical and plumbing.

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Pay your remaining fees and get your job card


3 to 4.5% of construction cost

Use our checklist of what to bring to get your job card for an issued permit.

You must have your job card before you can start construction.

Post your construction document at the construction site.

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Last updated February 26, 2024