Building & Safety

Building & Safety

Permit Tips for Businesses

Expanding or Relocating Your Business?

Is your business growing or moving to a new location in the City of Riverside? Congratulations! We’re happy that your company is helping to boost our economy and provide jobs for the citizens of Riverside. But, as you expand, there are a few questions you may want to ask the City or other agencies. For example:

  • If I expand my business, are there any new planning permit or zoning requirements?
  • Will I have to add more parking?
  • Do I need a building permit for my remodel?
  • Are there any low-interest loans or other assistance available?
  • Will the fire code require more exits, sprinklers or safety equipment?
  • What about disabled access?
  • How much will the Fees be?

The City of Riverside wants your business to succeed -- it benefits all of us. So, before you expand, talk to a contractor, engineer, architect or other design professional, along with City staff members...they’re there to help you find out what’s needed. And, after you’ve learned about the requirements, you may need to hire an architect, engineer, contractor, consultant or other design professional to help you in drawing up plans or other necessary documents. These requirements help your business be a safer, better neighbor, and preserve the beauty and character of Riverside.

Do I need a building permit to start a new business in an existing building or move an existing business from one building to another existing building?

This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many variables between different kinds of businesses and different construction types of buildings. To assist business owners, building owners and property managers in determining if a building permit will be required when a new tenant wishes to occupy a building or tenant space, the Building & Safety Division staff, in cooperation with local developers and building owners, has developed a form titled "When do New Tenants need a Permit" which describes when a permit may be required.

Generally, if the prior use of the building was the same as the proposed future use and no construction is planned to accommodate the new tenant, a building permit may not be needed. Certain businesses, such as restaurants and automotive uses, must be formally reviewed and will require a tenant improvement permit even if no work is being done.

When are plans required for a new tenant to occupy an existing building or tenant space?

Generally, plans are required whenever it is determined that a building permit is required for a new tenant to occupy a building or tenant space. If no work is taking place to accommodate the new tenant, but it has been determined that a permit is required, a Site Plan and a Floor Plan may be all that are necessary to show the location and number of parking spaces and the intended uses of each room or space within the building.

When additions or alterations to the building are proposed or the intended use of the building or tenant space presents special Fire or Life/Safety concerns, additional plans which clearly show the extent of the work and its compliance with the applicable laws, codes and ordinances may also be required (see Plan Submittal Checklist).

What other City departments do I need to contact prior to opening a business in a new building or tenant space?

In addition to obtaining the necessary permits to occupy the building, new businesses must contact the Finance Department for business license and business tax requirements.

About Permits
Permits via Mail
General Information
3900 Main St. 3rd Floor
Riverside, CA 92522

Phone: (951) 826-5697

Fax: (951) 826-5622

Permits Issued
Mon - Fri 7:30am - 4:30pm
Mon - Fri 7:30am - 5:00pm
Closed on Weekends and Major Holidays
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