Step by step

Get an OTC permit for your interior residential remodel

Follow these instructions for projects like kitchen, bath, and other interior residential remodels.

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

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

If you are a registered contractor, you can apply for kitchen and bath remodels online.

If your interior residential project is not eligible for OTC review, follow the steps for in-house review.


Check if your project qualifies for OTC

These interior residential projects qualify for over-the-counter review:

  • Interior remodels
  • In-kind kitchen remodel 
  • In-kind bathroom remodel
  • ​New bathrooms
  • New laundry rooms
  • Repairing decks and stairs (less than 50%)
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Check if your project needs plans

You need plans for a:

  • Kitchen remodel (changing layout and floor plan / removing walls) 
  • Bathroom remodel (changing layout and floor plan / removing walls) 
  • Residential interior remodel (changing floor plans / removing walls) 
  • Structural repairs and alterations
  • Voluntary seismic upgrade   
  • New mechanical equipment installed inside or outside the building (when a building permit is required)
  • New laundry center, washer, dryer, or laundry sink hookups in new/existing areas within the existing building 
  • In-kind replacement of garage slab (no ceiling height changes) Note: saw-cutting SOG to repair/replace sewer lines does not require plans
  • Brace and bolt seismic upgrade per DBI Information Sheet S-09 
  • Projects that do not require Planning Department neighborhood notifications

Hire a designer, architect, or engineer to prepare your plans.

Create your building project plans

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

Email if you are not sure if your project needs plans.

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Check if your project needs seismic work

Your construction project may require earthquake safety improvements if it includes any of these:

  • Horizontal addition that adds more than 30% to the size in square feet of the building
  • Structural alterations to more than 30% of the floor and roof areas
  • Changes to walls and ceilings on more two-thirds of the stories of the building
  • Change of occupancy of more than 100 people
  • Adding 3rd dwelling unit in a below-ground basement

Hire an engineer to work with your architect.

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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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Fill out the building form

You will need property and construction details to fill out the 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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Submit your application


2 to 8 hours

Come to the Permit Center to submit your application.

If your project needs plans, bring two 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.

Projects that began with MOD and remain unapproved will stay with the same plan checker at DBI or will be reassigned accordingly. Please refer to MOD's website for additional information.

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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.

Note: Electrical & Plumbing work must have permits separate from the building permit.

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Pay your remaining fees and get your job card


3 to 4.5% of construction cost

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

See what to bring to get your job card for an issued permit.

Post your construction document at the construction site.

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Last updated June 20, 2024