Updates on City of San José Services and/or Operations . (English | Español | Tiếng Việt | 中文)

High Rise Tool Kit


  • Downtown San Jose includes historic districts and many historic resources. For sites that have a historic resource present, it is preferred that the resource be maintained and preserved on site (per the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Resources). Development sites may also be in proximity to a historic resource or district; for these sites, it is important that new development be compatible to neighboring the historic resource or district.

  • Underground parking within Downtown is encouraged.

  • The Downtown Design Guidelines encourage active ground-floor uses and the inclusion of 'back of house' areas should be located so as to not impact the establishment of a vibrant pedestrian-oriented environment. Any 'back of house' or otherwise 'dead' areas should be minimized, screened, or otherwise treated to contribute to an active public realm.

  • Downtown has a particularly high water table due to it's proximity to the Guadalupe and Coyote Creeks; be sure to consult your civil engineer on site-specific constraints for excavation depths when designing your project.

  • Downtown in is close proximity to the City's airport. This allows for a high level of convenience for air travel, but does result in very specific and varying height limits throughout Downtown and the surrounding area. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Airport Planner for more information when designing their project and when building a high rise building should expect to apply for a Determination of No Hazard with the FAA.

  • The Municipal Code requires in the inclusion of off-street loading areas, and developments should also consider vehicle stacking if designing a restricted access parking facilities.


  • building under constructionSan Jose has notably mineral-rich tap water, thus it is recommended that water softeners are installed with developments in order to prolong the life of plumbing fixtures.

  • Downtown San Jose is a vibrant urban environment with consistent entertainment offerings. Thus, it is recommended the multi-paned windows are installed for the comfort of residents.


  • Fire Control Room. The location and access to the Fire Control Room needs to be pre-planned with the San Jose Fire Department (SJFD) which is typically done during the Planning entitlement stage. Be sure to confirm that the fire control room is of sufficient size to house the Fire Alarm Panel, Smoke Control Panel, Elevator Status Panels, Emergency Responder Radio Coverage System, 2-Way Communication System, etc. Also, be sure to discuss the location of the fire pump room with respect to fire control room with SJFD.

  • Smoke Control System. Prior to the Building Permit application submittal, a preliminary smoke control meeting needs to be scheduled with San Jose Fire Department. At such time the Basis of Design (BoD) report will be presented. Although generally conceptual in nature, the BoD shall include all aspects required in the final Smoke Control Report less calculations, supporting data, and diagrams.

  • Emergency Responder Radio Coverage (ERRC). ERRC is required throughout the area of each floor of the building. Communication repeaters may be required to be installed in the buildings. Please be advised of the pathway survivability requirements for ERRC Systems.

  • Standpipes Available During Construction. All buildings under construction, three or more stories in height, must have at least one standpipe for use during construction. Such standpipe must be provided with fire department hose connections. The locations and numbers of standpipes will be reviewed and approved by the Fire Department. Procedures for fire safety during construction.


  • The Addressing Team encourages early coordination- even as early as the Planning entitlement. Early coordination with Addressing can assist with correct identification of the entry points which will result in addresses. Not only can this information be helpful during marketing preparation, but also helps with clarity during building inspections.

Public Works

  • Above-ground electrical cabinets within the public street along the project frontage will need to be relocated within the proposed project.


  1. building under constructionNote that allowed construction hours are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Any deviation or expansion of these hours needs to be addressed during the Planning entitlement stages

  2. Construction hours within the public street are 9:00 am to 3:30 pm (M-F) and 8:00AM-5:00PM (Saturdays and Sundays)

  3. No construction activities resulting in noise levels exceeding the non-construction ambient noise (e.g. jackhammering, sawcutting pavement) are allowed within 100 ft of restaurants and cafes during the weekday lunch hour from 11:59am-1:00pm.

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