COVID-19 UPDATE: The City of Walnut Creek is coordinating with Contra Costa Health Services, the local public health authority, on the developing COVID-19 pandemic. For local information, updates and resources about COVID-19 visit

New Commercial or Multi-Family Residential Building

This information was compiled to provide an overview of the requirements to construct a New Commercial or Multi-Family Residential Building. The four phases discussed are: Conceptual Design Phase, Design Phase-Site Development, Design Phase-Building Permit, Construction Phase.


Specific Requirements

Conceptual Design Phase

General Plan & Zoning Ordinance

Projects must meet all zoning ordinance requirements and be consistent with the General Plan or Specific Plan.

Preliminary Review

The Preliminary Review Team (PRT) process is an internal staff review provided by the City as a courtesy to potential applicants who desire informal feedback prior to application submittal. It is not a prerequisite to formal application submittal nor is it intended to be a substitute for or to supersede the normal development/project review process. The PRT focuses on basic issues and the City does not charge for this initial assessment. The first review is free. Subsequent PRT applications are subject to a fee.

Discretionary Reviews

The Planning Division administers discretionary review processes.

The following discretionary reviews will be required for the project:

The following additional discretionary reviews may be required for the project based upon the project's specific needs:

  • Conditional Use Permit (Planning Commission and may involve the Design review commission)
  • General Plan Amendment (City Council and Planning Commission, and may involve the Design Review Commission)
  • Specific Plan (City Council and Planning Commission, and may involve Design Review Commission)

The above listed discretionary review processes are separate and distinct processes from the site development permit and building permit application processes. For projects that are subject to design changes due to the discretionary review processes it is recommended that a building permit application not be submitted until there is a high probability of the design being approved by the discretionary review bodies (design review commission, planning commission). For projects with a high probability of being approved, the City welcomes the building permit application being submitted prior to finishing the design review stage with the understanding that the applicant must assume all risk that changes might be required and additional plan review fees might be necessary to review the changes.

Design Phase - Site Development

Site Development Permit

The Engineering Division administers a site development permit where external site improvements are involved in a project. The site development permit process [PDF] is a completely separate and distinct application and routing process from the discretionary and building permit review processes and must be completed prior to approval of a building permit.

Encroachment Permit

Work that must be done within City property will require an encroachment permit.

Holiday Moratorium

No lane, sidewalk, or parking obstructions will be permitted at anytime within the downtown Core Area and Ygnacio Valley Road during the holiday moratorium (Thanksgiving Day through New Years Day).

Design Phase-Building Permit

Submittal Requirements

The Building Division administers permits for projects that involve building construction and demolition, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, reproofing, solar photovoltaic, signs and swimming pools. City staff has created numerous documents to help applicants with the permitting process. Information Bulletins help in preparing plans, specifications and supporting documentation for submittal of a building permit application [PDF].

Current Building Codes

Note that the permit application date will determine which codes are in effect for the project. Only those building codes that are in effect at the time of application will apply to the project.

Basic Plan Review and Permit Fees

Plan review fees will be collected upon application of the building permit. Building Division fees are based on project valuation. Other Municipal Code fees listed below are based on city ordinance and project conditions of approval. Call or e-mail a Permit Technician for a fee estimate or for guidance on which fees will apply to your project.

Plan review fees will be collected at the time of submittal of the plans for plan review.

Inspection, Administrative, State mandated and Development fees will be collected prior to issuance of the building permit.

Administrative Fees

The following administrative fees will be collected prior to the issuance of the permit:

  • Building Division Training Fee
  • Technology Fee
  • Document Imaging Fee
  • Waste Management Fee
  • General Plan Fee
  • City Green Building Fee


State Mandated Fees

The following fees are state mandated and will be collected by the City prior to issuance of the permit:

  • Strong Motion Instrumentation (SMI) Program Fee
  • CALGreen Fee

These fees are sent to the State.

Development Fees

The following development fees may apply to the specific project:

  • Public Arts In-lieu Fee
  • Traffic Impact Fees
  • Property Development Tax
  • Commercial Linkage Fees
  • Inclusionary Housing Fees
  • Parkland Dedication Acreage and/or Fee


City Review

The following City departments/divisions will participate in the review and approval of the project:

  • Planning (design review, site development review, building review, final inspection)
  • Engineering (design review, site development review, encroachment review, building review, final inspection)
  • Building (building review, final inspection)
  • Traffic Engineering Section performs design review, site development review, building reviews for safety for pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles within the City.
  • City Arborist performs design review, site development review, building review for conformance to the city's Tree Preservation Ordinance.


Outside Agency Review

The following outside agencies must be contacted by the applicant to obtain approvals prior to issuance of the permit:

  • Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau (all projects)
  • Health Department (only those projects with food services or hazardous materials)
  • Sanitary District (all projects)
  • School District (all projects with new conditioned area)
  • Bay Area Air Quality Management District (only those projects that are regulated under BAAQMD)


Waste Management

Where the project triggers any of the threshold levels under the City's waste management ordinance, the applicant is responsible for submitting a Waste Management Plan [PDF] for review and approval prior to issuance of the permit and a final Final Waste Management Report [PDF] prior to final of the permit. In the event that compliance is not met, a fine will be assessed on the project.

Applicants are encouraged to use Green Halo Systems for tracking and managing their waste management plan and final report online. Please visit or call 1-888-525-1301 for more information or to begin using the system.

Special Inspection

Special inspection will be required on the project where the work involves any of the scope of work enumerated under California Building Code Chapter 17 requiring special inspection. The owner is responsible for hiring a special inspector to perform the required inspections. The permit will not be finalized until all progress reports are cleared of non-compliances and a final special inspection report is obtained from the special inspector per the CBC requirements. The plans must include all special inspection requirements for the project and shall be stated on a Special Inspection and Observation Program [PDF] created by the engineer or architect of record for the structural design.

Construction Phase

Demolition Permit

Building demolition [PDF] permits are required when an existing building is torn down.

Preconstruction Meeting

A preconstruction meeting will be required with the following departments/divisions prior to issuance of the building permit:

  • Planning
  • Engineering
  • Building

Topics include contact information, hours of work, how to call for inspections, how to submit revisions and deferred submittal items, and procedures for final inspection and occupancy.

Hours of Work

Section 4-6.203 (f) of the Walnut Creek Municipal Code restricts the time work may be conducted on construction projects to the hours of 7:00AM to 6:00PM weekdays, which are not City holidays.


City Holidays are on or near the following: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.


The Building Official may grant permission for After-Hours Work Permits [PDF] for good cause, based upon if the public health, safety and welfare will not be impaired, and that loss or inconvenience would result to any person in interest by not allowing the work to be undertaken during times other than that specified in the Municipal Code.

In-Progress Inspections

Once a building permit is issued, in-progress inspections during the construction will be conducted by the Building Division. Phone number to request inspections is 925-943-5833. Phone number to request specific time range for inspection is 925-943-5835.


All deferred submittal items must be cleared by the permit holder before an in-progress inspection of work effected by the deferred item is conducted. Typical deferred items might include the following:

  • Deferred truss calculations
  • Revisions to plans
  • Architects or engineer's RFIs or supplemental instructions which required plan review
  • Deferred stair designs


City Final Inspection Process

After all construction is completed, final inspections will be required from the following.

  • Planning (925-256-3558)
  • Engineering (925-943-5839)
  • Fire Department (925-941-3300)
  • Health Department (925-692-2500)
  • Building Division (Must be last, 925-943-5833)

Sign-offs shall be indicated by signatures or initials and dates made on the field inspection card. All deferred submittal items must be cleared by the permit holder before a final will be given. Examples of items that typically need attention are the following:


Certificate of Occupancy

The Certificate of Occupancy will be issued upon successful finalizing of the project. Copies are sent to the permit holder and the property owner.

Free viewers are required for some of the attached documents.
They can be downloaded by clicking on the icons below.

Acrobat Reader Download Acrobat Reader Flash Player Download Flash Player Windows Media Player Download Windows Media Player Microsoft Silverlight Download Microsoft Silverlight Word Viewer Download Word Viewer Excel Viewer Download Excel Viewer PowerPoint Viewer Download PowerPoint Viewer