Step by step

Permit process for existing awnings (available for a limited time)

Follow this simplified process to get a permit for an existing awning with most fees waived.

Key Information

This simplified, temporary process enables property owners to:

  • Obtain a permit for an existing awning without a licensed contractor or awning installer
  • Abate notices of violation for unpermitted awnings

There are no permit fees, inspection fees or penalty fees assessed for awning permits obtained using this temporary process. Some modest state fees and local fees/surcharges still apply.

Applicants can submit up to two building permit applications to legalize their existing awnings during an Over-the-Counter (OTC) review session. Anyone can apply for and pay for a permit application but permits can only be issued to the property owner, a California-licensed contractor, or an authorized agent for either of them.

Any corrective work will require a standard permit with plans but the permit fees, inspection fees and penalty fees will still be waived.

New uninstalled awnings cannot use this process and should follow the standard new awning permit process. All new or additional awning installation/construction must be performed by a licensed contractor or awning installer.

Review the following information to fill out the right forms and prepare the required photo documentation. Watch a how-to video in English, Spanish, Chinese, or Filipino. For additional permitting assistance, please visit the Permit Center Help Desk at 49 South Van Ness or contact the Office of Small Business.

This is a temporary process to help property owners legalize existing awnings. Permits issued through this temporary process must be completed within one year. No permit extensions will be granted.


Fill out the required forms and create your photo documentation

To get a permit for your existing awning, you will need to submit:

  • Property Owner's Disclosures documenting that you are the building owner or representative
    • Property owner representative must bring a copy of the owner's state-issued ID as required in the disclosure form.
  • A Form 4/7 - Application for permit to erect sign (awning)
  • A dimensioned photograph with information about your existing awning - see step 3 for more details.
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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 Over-the-counter (OTC) permit.

See: Who can obtain a building permit

Pick the form that applies to you.


Print the appropriate form and bring it with you when apply for a sign (awning) permit.

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Provide dimensioned photos documenting your awning information

You will need to provide dimensioned photos with labels documenting your awning size, weight, location, type of wall, and how the awning is attached to the wall of the building.


Photos need to be printed on 11”x17” paper. Two copies of the photos are required with your permit application.


Be sure to include the scope of work including notice of violation number (if applicable), property address, awning dimensions, whether the awning is illuminated. 


Other information required to be printed on the photographs:

1.   Width of awning.

2.   Height of lettering on awning.

3.   Height of awning valance (loose fabric hanging off the frame) above the sidewalk (if applicable). A minimum of 7' is the code requirement. 

4.   Height of awning frame above the sidewalk. A minimum of 8' is the code requirement. 

5.   Depth of awning.

6.   Width of the sidewalk, measured from the building to the edge of the curb.

7.   Size and number of attachments (anchors) at the top of the awning. Be sure to include the number, diameter, and depth of anchor (if available). 

8.   Size and number of attachments (anchors) at the bottom of the awning. Be sure to include the number, diameter, and depth of anchor (if available). 

Please note that the wall attachments must be the appropriate anchor (generally a screw or extension bolt) for the wall type, such as wood, masonry, steel or concrete.

9.   If the building has a fire escape above the awning, show and label an awning flap to accommodate a drop down ladder.

10. Indicate if any of the windows on the floors above the commercial unit open into a bedroom.

If yes, provide the height of the bottom of the window sill to the sidewalk for each window on each floor up to the third story. Only measure up to the third story if there are more than three floors.  

If no, indicate that the windows above the commercial spare are not bedroom windows.

Click here for a sample labeled, dimensioned photo.

Chinese  Spanish  Tagalog  Vietnamese

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Fill out a sign permit application for your existing awning

Fill out the form 4/7 Sign Permit Application (awning permits use the sign permit application form).

Write "To comply with Awning Amnesty Program" in Box (12) Plot Plan and Elevation.

Illuminated awnings also require an electrical permit

Sample completed form 4/7 Sign Permit for an existing awning.

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Submit your property owner’s disclosure, form 4/7, and dimensioned photographs

Come to the Permit Center to apply for an Over the counter (OTC) permit. 

You will get a sign permit application number for your awning. 

We will route your application and documentation to the required permit review stations. You will carry your application and other documents to each permit review station and review your project with staff. You may need to come back on a separate day to finish the permit process.

We will then review the sign permit application for your awning and check your labeled and dimensioned awning photos. We will inform you of the additional forms and information you need to provide and help you determine any outstanding information.

Once the permit station review is complete, you will need to pay some modest state and local fees that are not waived through this program. Once those fees are paid, you will be issued a job card and permit number. Anyone can pay for the permit but the permit can only be issued to the property owner, California-licensed contractor or their representative.

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Get your awning inspected

Call DBI for a final inspection of your existing awning to close the permit and / or resolve a notice of violation.

Illuminated awnings also require a separate electrical inspection.

Awnings with unsafe conditions will receive comments on their job card and a note in the Permit Tracking System (PTS) requiring the condition be brought up to code before the permit is finalized.


Schedule an inspection of your installed awning.

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Last updated July 5, 2024