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  Development Services


Tenant Improvements

This Guide is designed to help you through the permitting and Parkingconstruction processes associated with a tenant improvement (TI) project. Tenant improvements are defined as structural or nonstructural interior alterations to an existing commercial or industrial space. This includes electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits, a change in the permitted use ("Change in Use") or an increase in the permitted number of occupants ("Occupant Load").

To apply for a tenant improvement permit, you need to stop at our Building Counter in the Public Service Building at 276 Fourth Avenue across the street from the central library (map).  For us to accept your permit application, you must provide us with a complete submittal package. A complete submittal package consists of the following:

  1. A completed "Tenant Improvement Worksheet, Form 4564".
  2. Four copies of a Plot/Site Plan showing the general layout of the existing building site, location of the tenant improvement, address, and an accessible path of travel from accessible parking and public transportation to accessible entrance(s).
  3. Four copies of construction plans and details, including but not limited to; floor plan, exiting plan, California accessibility requirements and details, CALGreen requirements, reflected ceiling plan, framing details, lighting plan, electrical/plumbing/mechanical plans, and other applicable plans as listed in the "Tenant Improvement Worksheet, Form 4564"..
  4. Two sets of Title 24 energy compliance documents when changes are proposed to the mechanical system, lighting or building envelope.
  5. A completed Hazardous Materials Questionnaire (If you answer "Yes" to any of the items in Part II or III, you must obtain approval from the appropriate County office as listed under Part II or III of the Questionnaire.)

During the permitting process you will be asked to pay two separate fees; Plan Check Fee and Permit Fee. You are required to pay the Plan Check Fee before we can take in your application for plan check. As for the Permit Fee, you must pay it at time of permit issuance. Both fees are determined by the type of construction, type of occupancy, square footage and the extent of the tenant improvement. On minor tenant improvements where fees cannot be based on square footage (i.e. Partition walls, electrical outlets.. etc.), a contractor's bid may be accepted as a basis for determining Plan Check and Permit Fees. See "Construction Valuation for Remodels/Tenant Improvements, Form 4596".  For additional information on fees, please see Fee Information.

After our Development Services Technicians (DST's) verify that the application package is complete, and you pay the Plan Check Fees, they will forward a set of plans/documents to each of the four departments/divisions; Building, Planning, Engineering and Fire. Approval from all four departments/divisions is required prior to permit issuance. To contact any of the departments/divisions, please see the contact list shown at the end of this document.

The plan check process is then tracked in our Automated Tracking System and the project is assigned a standard turn-around-time. The standard turn-around-time for an initial review is 21 calendar days. The standard turn-around-time for follow-up reviews (rechecks) is 14 calendar days.

One of the main issues that Building deals with is Disabled Access as it applies to existing buildings and tenant improvements in existing buildings. Per State law (California Building Standards Code - Title 24), existing buildings and facilities must comply when alterations, additions or repairs are to be made. Compliance includes:

  1. The area of remodel, alteration, addition or repair
  2. A primary entrance to the building or facility; the path of travel to the area of remodel, alteration, addition or repair
  3. Sanitary facilities serving the area of remodel, alteration, addition or repair
  4. Drinking fountains serving the area of remodel, alteration, addition or repair
  5. Public telephones serving the area of remodel, alteration, addition or repair
  6. Accessible parking and path of travel to accessible entrances.

Small projects (construction valuation up to $139,934) may qualify for an unreasonable hardship exception. See "Accessibility - Application for Unreasonable Hardship Exception, Form 4607".  Granting an unreasonable hardship exception does not exempt all non-complying features. You still need to spend an amount equal to 20% of the project cost, and only that amount, on making some or all of the non-complying features comply. Existing non-complying features that will cost more than 20% of the project cost to make them comply, or will push the cumulative cost above the 20% limit, may qualify for an exemption. Your plans must show those accessibility features that will be brought to compliance and those existing non-complying features that may qualify for an exemption. For additional information or clarification contact our Plans Examiners at (619) 407-3587.

After you obtain all the required approvals and pay the Permit Fee, a DST will issue you a building permit. Now you can start construction. At certain stages of the construction, you must schedule for an inspection. The following list represents the sequence of required inspections for a typical tenant improvement:

  1. Underground plumbing and electrical.
  2. Foundation.
  3. Interior wall framing and rough electric.
  4. T-Bar ceiling and rough trades (electrical, plumbing & mechanical).
  5. Drywall nailing.
  6. Electrical service.
  7. Final Inspection.

To schedule an inspection with the Building Division, call (619) 409-5434 to reach our Interactive Voice Response system (IVR). For an IVR User's Guide Click Here.

After all required inspections are approved and required approvals from other divisions and/or departments are obtained, our Building Inspector will notify the utility company to release the electric meter and a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued. The issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy authorizes you to occupy and use the facility based on the permitted use shown on the Certificate of Occupancy.

City Dept. / Division
Phone Number
Fax Number


(Permits Section)




City Of Chula Vista



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