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ADU Permit & Plan Review Process
Congratulations on making the decision to build an ADU! We're here to help you with the steps for obtaining a building permit:


Step # 1:
Work through the ADU Universal Checklist


We encourage homeowners, designers, and construction professionals alike to understand how the City's Zoning Code and variables covered in the ADU Universal Checklist may affect a specific ADU project.

This checklist can help you avoid the frustrating experience of having to alter your design after you invested in the plans. And it can help you anticipate any fees associated with a special permit or clearance, if they're needed.   

So, before you create building plans, work through the ADU Universal Checklist

And if you need help with the checklist, you can contact the ADU Ally at or 408-793-5302.

Additionally, if you need help understanding the Zoning Code Development Standards outlined on the checklist, you can meet with a City Planner at the Permit Center. For this free meeting, please bring:

  • Your copy of the ADU Universal Checklist
  • A preliminary site plan (may be hand-drawn) that shows lot boundaries and dimensions, and the location of the primary dwelling unit and proposed ADU.

To meet with a Planner, come to the Permit Center, 1st floor, City Hall. No appointment is required. Validated parking is available in the Tower garage. Upon arrival:
 
  • Go to the Permit Center kiosk to obtain a ticket to meet with a Planner.
  • Tap "Planning Services" button
  • Tap "ADU Questions" button. 
  • Take the ticket and when your number is called, go to the round Assistance Desk.

Step # 2: 
Prepare your ADU Plan Submittal Package  
      

Once you are clear on an ADU concept that complies with the Zoning Code, you can proceed to preparing building plans.

Building plans involve 
technical codes and calculations, and homeowners are advised to hire a professional to draw their plans. City staff will not process inaccurate or incomplete plans. Instead, they will inform you of the needed information and ask you to come back with revised plans.  

Professionals who create ADU building plans are directed to follow the instructions on 
Bulletin #211 - ADU Building Plan Requirements.

For information on who can apply for a building permit and submit the plans, see our bulletin, How to Get a Building Permit.

As outlined on on Bulletin #211 - ADU Building Plan Requirements, in addition to the plans, the submittal package will require these items:    

Step #3: 
Submit the Plans for Review  
      

An appointment is required to submit plans. They can be submitted any weekday, but the Permit Center is pleased to offer expedited services for ADU projects on "ADU Tuesdays."

To help you understand which service is best for your project, schedule the appointment with the ADU Ally. The ADU Ally is here to:
  • Answer your questions
  • Connect you to staff who may be of assistance
  • Schedule your appointment for the proper plan review service

Contact the ADU Ally at or 408-793-5302.

Step #4: 
Construction & Inspections

Once your plans have been approved and you've obtained your building permit, construction of the ADU can begin. Your contractor will schedule appointments at the appropriate junctures for inspections.

For tips in the inspection process, please watch our "ADU Permit Video". The second half of the video includes tips from inspectors on how to avoid common mistakes in the inspection process. 

Once construction and inspections are complete, you'll be issued a Certificate of Occupancy, and your ADU is ready for moving in!