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Building and Safety Division
Building and Safety Division

Hiring Design Professionals and Contractors 

The City of Berkeley is not able to recommend specific designers or contractors. However, the following resources are available for guidance. 

How do I find an Architect or Engineer?

Depending on your project, you may need to hire either an architect or an engineer. If your project includes both structural and nonstructural changes, you may decide to hire both. You can choose to hire one design professional, who can contract with additional professionals as needed.

By law, you will need a California-licensed architect or engineer for your project if it is more than two stories and a basement in height, is of any type other than conventional wood-frame construction, or exceeds four dwelling units on a property.

Hiring an Architect

Hiring an Engineer

  • SEAONC Structural Engineer Referral List - Click on "Project Types" to reveal a drop-down menu and select the appropriate type. Do not enter Berkeley under "City" or the search will only provide engineers with offices located in Berkeley. If City if left blank, the search will generate a list of engineers in the Bay Area with experience in the selected project type. This referral list does not contain the names of all licensed structural engineers.
  • License Search for Engineers - Department of Consumer Affairs

How do I Find a Contractor?

You can begin working with a Contractor either at the beginning of your project or after you have a design in progress. A Contractor can typically provide a more accurate estimate of the construction cost if you have a set of plans and specifications for your project that they can refer to in order to give you a bid for the work. However, speaking with Contractors at an early stage can be helpful in getting to know the strengths of different Contractors and developing a more realistic budget and timeline for a project.

Your engineer and architect may be able to recommend Contractors to you. Some design-build companies provide both design and construction services, which may or may not be appropriate for your project.

Ask Contractors for references and for examples of similar projects. In addition to a license from the State of California, a Contractor will also need a valid and current City of Berkeley Business License to be issued a building permit for your project.

California Department of Consumer Affairs - Contractors State License Board:


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Building and Safety Division, 1947 Center St, 3rd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7440
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
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