• Frequently Asked Questions

  •     What are the current adopted codes?

    As of January 1, 2017 the following building codes are in effect and have been adopted by the Town of Danville:


    The 2016 California Building Code

    ·         2016 California Residential Code

    ·         2016 California Electrical Code

    ·         2016 California Mechanical Code

    ·         2016 California Plumbing Code

    ·         2016 California Fire Code

    ·         2016 California Green Building Standards Code (CalGreen) 

    ·         2016 California Energy Code

        What is exempt from a permit?

    Exceptions: Permits are not required for the following*

    + One-story detached accessory buildings used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses, etc., providing the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet and no electricity is being installed.

    + Fences not over seven feet high (however, planning & zoning codes must be met).

    + Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a sloped backfill or other surcharge such as a structure or driveway.

    + Decks, walkways, and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade and not over any basement or story below, and not fastened to any structure.

    + Painting, papering, flooring (where the subfloor or floor framing is not modified), molding , or similar finish work.

    * Recommendation: Although your project may not require a building permit, it is recommended you obtain Planning Division approval before beginning any project. (A plot plan may be required for approval).

        When do I need a permit?


    The Town Planning/Building Divisions are here to help promote community safety and protect your investment in your property by making sure that improvements meet applicable codes and standards.


      Below is a partial list of projects requiring a permit:

      • Build or construct a dwelling or any other structure.
      • Accessory structures that exceed 120 square feet. [Accessory to a residential dwelling].
      • Improvements, alterations, or repairs to a dwelling or other structure.
      • Change of Occupancy to a non-residential building or tenant space.
      • Electrical, mechanical, or plumbing alterations or improvements.
      • Installation of electrical conduit/conductors or gas piping for future equipment.
      • Window or Exterior Door replacements.
      • Move or demolish a structure.
    • Installation of a fireplace.
    • Installation or remodel of a pool or spa.
    • Patio cover, arbor, or trellis exceeding 6-ft. in height.
    • Retaining walls over 4-ft. from the bottom of the footing to top of wall or if the wall has a surcharge [sloping fill toward wall].


    Permits from the Planning Division are not required for most residential additions, although some exempt projects may require a Life Safety Review (See Below). However, planning permits are required under the following circumstances:

    • If the property is located within a Town-identified Scenic Hillside or Major Ridgeline area, a Development Plan permit is required for any new home, second story addition, first story addition greater than 100 square feet, or any accessory structure greater than 120 square feet. Scenic Hillside areas are the higher, more visible hillside areas in Danville, and are depicted on a map available at the Planning Division.
    • If the home was part of a Planned Unit Development and had specifically approved architecture by the Town, alterations to the architecture and additions may be subject to review by the Town under a Development Plan application.
    • If a proposed addition or accessory structure does not meet the zoning standards for the district, such as setbacks to property lines and height, a Variance permit would need to be obtained. In order to grant a variance, the Town would need to find that there are special circumstances related to the property which make it inappropriate to strictly enforce the district’s development standards.

    In brief, you will need a permit for any work that physically changes or adds structures to your property.


    Life Safety Review: 

    As of March 1, 2010, a new Life Safety Review policy has taken effect in Danville.  The policy is devoted to commercial tenant spaces where a change of use occurs and no activity takes place that would trigger the need for a building permit. 

    The change of use must remain within the same occupancy classification of the previously approved tenant, i.e. a clothing store moving into previous shoe store space, [Occupancy Group M; Mercantile].  If a change of occupancy occurs, it would trigger the need for a building permit.  Additionally, in situations where the use remains the same with only cosmetic changes (painting, flooring, etc.) taking place this would not prompt a building permit. However, a Life Safety Review would be required.  

    This one-time review is provided at no cost to the ownership group/applicant.  The review is provided by inspection staff or the building official with the primary scope of verifying that the existing condition of the tenant space does not present any visible safety hazards to the public.  During the review, staff may provide recommendations to the ownership group/applicant as to any missing disabled access components, such as signage or stair striping. 

    In the event that a risk and/or hazard is present during the review, a correction notice shall be left with the ownership group/applicant and a second review shall be required to verify the mitigation of the hazard(s).  Upon completion of the Life Safety Review, the Town shall notify the Sanitary and Fire Districts and if applicable the Health Department of the proposed tenant change. 

    The tenant change and Life Safety Review will not be subject to prior approval of these agencies.  It shall be the responsibility of the ownership group/applicant to receive approval from these agencies if required to do so.


    **Please contact Building Services if you are uncertain or have any questions concerning the permit process



        Who should get the permit?

    The property owner or a contractor licensed by the State of California can obtain permits. Tenants may obtain a permit if they have the written permission of the property owner and the property owner signs an Owner Builder Acknowledgment form.


    It is always best if a licensed contractor obtains the permit. The contractor must provide a bond to ensure that the work will be started and completed in a timely manner, constructed in accordance with the various codes and performed with an acceptable degree of workmanship. If the work is not completed or if the work is not completed according to code, the bond could be used to pay someone else to finish or redo the work.


    If the owners obtain the permit they act as the contractor and are responsible for completing the work and to assure that it meets code requirements. Interaction then takes place between Building Division inspectors and the owner. If the owner has hired a contractor or other person to do some of the work and it is not done in accordance with the approved plans and code requirements, the inspector will ask the owner, not the contractor, to have the work redone. In other words, if the owner obtains the permit it is the owner's responsibility to make sure the work is being done in accordance with the approved plans and codes.

        How do I schedule an inspection?

    The Town of Danville has installed an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to provide callers with 24-hour access to schedule inspections, cancel inspections and check inspection results.

    When you are ready for your building inspection, please call our 24-hour inspection line (925) 314-3333

    Please call by 3pm to schedule your inspection for the next business day or you can schedule up to 5 days in advance.

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        Can I get a copy of my house plans?

    The Town incorporated in 1982 and established a building department in 1987. We have plans here at the Town Offices on file for homes that were built from 1990 to present. Anyone is welcome to view the plans in person Monday- Friday 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m..

    If you would like to obtain a copy of your house plans, there is a process in place to help you acquire them. Section 19851 of the Health and Safety Code (H&SC) of the State of California requires that the Building Division, prior to copying plans or documents prepared by a licensed, registered, or certified professional, must first attempt to contact the preparer for permission to copy the plans or documents.

    You must first fill out a Duplication Of Plans Request and submit it in person to the Town Offices Monday- Friday 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. There is a $40.00 non refundable deposit required at time of request. The entire process takes 35-45 days.

        How are permit fee's calculated?

    Permit Fees are based on the scope of work, square footages and number of inspections. We have a Master Fee Schedule in place to help obtain that answer.

    You are welcome to contact the building Division at (925) 314-3330, Monday- Friday 7:30 a.m. until noon for an estimate of building permit fees. We will be unable to provide an accurate permit fee until the plans have been reviewed by staff to better determine an exact fee.

        Is my property located within the Town of Danville's boundary?

    A Danville address does not necessarily mean your property is within the Town limits. Your address is determined by who delivers your mail. If you live east of Diablo Vista Middle School along Camino Tassajara and/or north of Camino Tassajara east of Blackhawk Road (Blackhawk), you have a Danville address because the Danville Post Office delivers your mail and your property is located within the unincorporated area of Contra Costa County, outside the Town of Danville’s boundary. Feel free to contact the Town’s Development Services Department if you are not sure @ 925-314-3330 or Contra Costa County @ 925-646-1600.

        I would like to add square footage to my home. What are the regulations?

    The added square footage will need to meet the requirements of the adopted codes in effect at the time of application. Depending on the size, other agencies may also require approval including but not limited to, San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, School District, and the Central Sanitary District. The addition will need to meet the property line setback and height limitations as required by the zoning designation assigned to the parcel. Projects that exceed 350 square feet may be required to provide a soils report. Additions that extend to the limits of the property line setback may also be subject to providing a letter of survey documenting the accuracy of the structure location as it relates to the property line.

    For more specific information concerning your project, please contact Building Services at 925-314-3330.