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If you have questions about the ADU permitting process, please reach out to our ADU
Ally at the Permit Center:

ADU Ally

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

The ADU Universal Checklist can help you avoid the frustrating and potentially expensive experience of having to alter your design after you created plans or began construction. It can help you learn if any special permits or clearances are needed and plan for related expenses.

Homeowners, designers, and construction professionals should all understand how the items covered in the checklist will affect the ADU design.

So, before you create building plans, be sure to work through the ADU Universal Checklist.

If you need help understanding any of the Development Standards outlined on the checklist, you can meet -- for free -- with a City Planner. The planner can greatly help you understand what your ADU plans should address and include. Please bring:

  • Your copy of the ADU Universal Checklist, preferably with the questions answered.
  • A rough site plan (may be hand-drawn) that shows:
    • Lot boundaries and dimensions
    • Location of the primary dwelling unit
    • Location of the 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

When you have an ADU concept that addresses all the items on the ADU Universal Checklist, you're ready to proceed to preparing building plans.

Building plans involve technical codes and homeowners are advised to hire an experienced professional to draw their plans.

City staff will NOT process inaccurate or incomplete plans. Instead, they will ask you to come back with revised plans that contain the required information.

Professionals who create ADU building plans are directed to follow the instructions on Bulletin #211 - ADU Building Plan Requirements. As outlined on the bulletin, the ADU Submittal Package must include:

Step #3:
Submit the Plans for Review

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

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.

Plan ahead for a successful inspection by going over the Inspection Checklist of ADUs with your contractor. For additional 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 is complete and the final building inspection is approved, your ADU is ready for moving in!