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What is the commercial express review service?

The Commercial Express Review service allows qualified commercial tenant improvement projects to be reviewed and potentially approved during a 90- minute face-to-face meeting between the project design team and the City’s staff. The service is offered every Tuesday (except holidays) and by-appointment-only. A 50% surcharge of plan review fees is required. The applicant is required to obtain outside agency’s approvals (Fire District, Central Sanitary, and Health Department) prior to the appointment date. The County Fire District will review the plans over the counter for the projects having express review appointments with the City.

Does my project qualify for this service?

To qualify for the commercial express review service, the scope of work shall be interior only (except minor structural work) and satisfy the criteria listed below. The project shall NOT contain or utilize the storage or use of hazardous materials unless the material is carbon dioxide used for beverage systems. The scope of work shall NOT require alterations or modifications to the existing fire-resistive construction assembly and/or system, and shall NOT result in a change of the uses of the building unless such change has been approved by the Planning Division prior to scheduling an appointment.

  • Existing Office Spaces: the alteration area may be up to 20,000 square feet, excluding licensed medical clinics under OSHPD 3 requirements and hazardous materials laboratory
  • Existing Retail Spaces: the alteration area may be up to 10,000 square feet
  • Existing Restaurants: Existing restaurant with no square footage increase and no kitchen work. All restaurant TI’s require prior approval from Contra Costa County Health and Sanitary District. New alcohol service and the increase of alcohol service area (dinning, bar, etc.) will require prior approval by the Planning Division
  • Minor Structural: Limited to store fronts, façade improvement, roof top equipment installation, and signs.  All exterior changes require prior approval from the Planning Division

How do I schedule an appointment?

Applicants must complete the online form. Typically, the applicants should receive a response from the City within 2 business days after the request is received by the City.

Who should attend the meeting?

The project architect and the mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) designers/contractors are required to attend the meeting. The tenant is encouraged to attend the meeting, but optional if the general contractor will pull the Building permit. The attendee shall arrive at the Permit Center counter at least 30 minutes prior to the meeting, to submit the building permit application form and to pay the plan review fees.

What should I bring to the meeting?

  • 3 sets of complete plans showing compliance with Code requirements related to Accessibility, Architectural, Structural, Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical, Energy, Green Building, and Fire safety requirements. The plans shall be prepared and signed by licensed professionals for each disciplines. Incomplete or below-standard plans will delay the approval and permit issuance process.
  • 2 sets of structural calculations, Title-24 reports, and other supporting documents, as applicable
  • Construction cost: copy of the contract or contractor’s bid
  • Copies of approved plans by outside agencies (Fire, Sanitary, Health Department as applicable)
  • Special Inspection form signed by all parties (if applicable)
  • Condition of approval letter signed by owner for building having potential of mercury and/or PCB containing materials. 


What is the contact information for outside agencies?

  • Contra Costa County Fire Protection District
    2010 Geary Road
    Pleasant Hill, CA 94523-4694
    (925) 941-3300
  • Contra Costa County Health Services
    2120 Diamond Blvd., Suite 200
    Concord, CA 94520
    (925) 692-2500
  • Central Contra Costa Sanitary District
    5019 Imhoff Place
    Martinez, CA 94553
    (925) 229-7371

What if my project is not approved during the 1st meeting?

  • If city staff determines that the plans are of good quality and do not require significant design changes, the applicant will schedule a 2nd meeting by directly contacting the plan checker who reviewed the plans during the initial appointment. This meeting may not take the available appointment slots on Tuesday.
  • If it is determined the plans are incomplete and/or require significant design changes, the 2nd meeting will need to be scheduled using an available appointment slot on Tuesday by following the standard appointment request procedures. The applicant may choose to submit the plans through the regular plan review process, however, the commercial express plan review surcharge fee will not be refunded.

Click Here to Request a Commercial Express Review Appointment