What Is An Over-the-Counter Plan Check? (Formerly Express Plan Check)
Over-the-Counter Plan Check is a process in which your plans are reviewed by the Building Inspection and Planning Offices on the same day.
Projects Eligible for Over-the-Counter Plan Check
Residential: Single Dwellings; Any ONE of the following types of projects:
- Single-story addition less than 500 square feet
- Single-story deck, patio cover, patio enclosure, trellis (greater than 50% open), less than 500 square feet
- Interior alteration/repair of minor fire damage (amount of estimated contract price required)
- Roof pitch change, new roof structure, siding, fence over 6 feet high
- Garage conversion less than 500 square feet
- Detached accessory structures: garages, carport, storage buildings, barns, stable, greenhouse (1 story and less than 500 square feet)
- Voluntary seismic upgrade of foundation anchorage
- See exclusions
Commercial (Non-Residential) (all require amount of estimated contract price); Any ONE of the following types of projects:
- Non electric signs (with ASA Approval from Planning Office)
- Minor interior alterations for office (B occupancy) or retail space (M Occupancy), with no change in occupancy, exiting or structural systems
- Minor handicapped accessibility upgrades
Exclusions (Projects NOT eligible for Over-the-Counter Plan Check):
- Violations or work started prior to permit issuance
- Storage/use of hazardous materials of any amount
- Detached building with more than 2 plumbing fixtures
- Secondary or new dwelling units
- Second story additions
- Revisions to plans for projects which are under construction
- Structures with fire sprinkler systems
- Retaining wall
- Photovoltaic systems
- Solar water heating systems
- Swimming Pools and Spas
- Buildings located in Special Flood Hazard Areas
- New Buildings located in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)
- Foundation underpinning/repair (case-by-case)
Information you will need before your plans are prepared
- For plan requirements, refer to the yellow handout Building Permit Application Requirements located at the Building Inspection Office counter.
- Planning Office Staff will provide information about zoning districts, design review, architectural review, building site approval, permitted uses, setbacks, height limitations, site plan requirements and Planning Office fees.
- Building Inspection Office Staff will answer questions about requirements for applications, California Building Code, permits, fees, inspections, plumbing, mechanical and electrical.
Application materials you will need
- Permit Application
- At the Building Inspection Office counter, fill out the building permit application form when you submit your plans. 2 sets of plans and supporting documents are required for residential projects, and 3 or 4 sets for non-residential.
- Assessors Parcel Map
- You must provide a parcel map, which can be obtained from the Assessor's Office on the 5th floor, OR obtained online here.
- Verification of Sewer Connection OR Septic System Clearance
- Sewer: Bring your tax bill or letter of verification from the sewer provider, which confirms sewer connection. If you do not have this bill, you may obtain a copy from the Tax Information counter on the 6th floor of this building.
- Septic: The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) will require that you obtain clearance from the DEH office prior to issuance of the building permit. An inspection of the septic tank and drain field may be necessary to obtain this clearance. If required, provide 4 copies of the site plan to the DEH inspector to sign. The DEH inspector will keep 1 copy. Submit the other 3 copies with your building permit application to the Building Inspection Office.
- Department of Environmental Health (DEH):
1555 Berger Drive, Suite #300
San Jose, CA 95112-2716
- Department of Environmental Health (DEH):
How Do I Apply for Over-the-Counter Plan Check?
Call 408 299-5770 to make an Appointment. Appointments are available on Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30am to 2:30pm.
The owner must sign the Owner-Builder Declaration on the application, unless a licensed contractor signs the application. If you are the owner's representative, you will need the NOTARIZED Owner Builder form designating you as the authorized agent of the homeowner to sign the application.
Licensed contractors must provide a copy of their Workers' Compensation Insurance Certificate.
Bring at least two checks or cash with you. We now accept MasterCard, Discover and American Express Credit Cards and VISA Debit Cards. (A service fee applies.)