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Items Required to be Included on Plans or Specifications

Items 1-6: General
Items 7-15: Existing Building Conditions
Items 16-24: Proposed Conditions
Items 25-33: Proposed Individual Space or JLWQ


Thirty-three items are required to be shown on the Drawings or Specifications–or on charts or tables, as shown in the examples included here. Chapter 1 of the Oakland Building Code has a section devoted to requirements for such information, but because live/work is a comparatively new building type, it was felt that the extra clarity these 33 items add would be helpful to all concerned. Following are each of the items, paired with itemized Plain English translations.

In cases where the Plain English is extensive, the full text of the explanation is on a separate page.

You may find it useful to download a worksheet and sample form containing these 33 items and refer to it as you read through the list.


Code Plain English
The architect or civil engineer of record for the project along with pertinent contact information pursuant to 1996 OBC Chapter 1; Normally, an architect or engineer will be required on a live/work project. State law provides exceptions to this requirement. For example, a non-licensed person can design simple residences of four or fewer units with spans not exceeding 20 feet. It is arguable that on some R-7 or R-8 projects of 1-4 units an architect or engineer might not be needed. Any renovation of an existing building that requires seismic calculations–which is almost all (except those invoking the "10% rule") -- would require an engineer or architect. State the architect or engineer’s name in the space provided.
Code Plain English
The nature of all City Planning approvals required and obtained, including use as JLWQ pursuant to Section 322B.2.1, and show any City Planning conditions of approval within the plans; Joint Living and Work Quarters (JLWQ) in districts other than manufacturing are "as-of-right," meaning no discretionary zoning approval is required. Nevertheless, it is advisable to make an appointment with a zoning official (tel. (510) 238-3911) for a preliminary review of your project (first run it by your architect). In manufacturing zones, JLWQ requires securing a minor Conditional Use Permit, a six-week process which does not require a public hearing unless appealed to the City Planning Commission. more
Code Plain English
The California Energy Commission Standards (Residential or Non-residential) which are being applied and the areas of the building and the individual JLWQ to which they are being applied and show the required energy documents within the plans; The state of California has very specific and rather stringent energy conservation standards, usually called "Title 24." If you honestly can state that your existing building contains a functioning heater of any size, the work you are doing is considered to be an alteration of heated space rather than creation of new conditioned space; you therefore do not need to touch the envelope of the building– i.e. windows, walls, roof, doors –for purposes of energy conservation. On the other hand, if your design complies entirely with the "prescriptive heating requirements" as specified in section 329B.6, the space in question is considered "unconditioned," which means it does not require Title 24 energy calculations. more
Code Plain English
Note regarding the nature of "notice of limitations" to be filed, or if previously filed show the notices within the plans;

A "Notice of Limitation" is a recorded document (see sample in the Appendix) which puts anyone viewing the public record on notice that certain extraordinary code relaxations are being employed in the building. For JLWQ, a Notice of Limitation is required when the project includes:

  1. A ship’s ladder to a sleeping mezzanine or built-in sleeping bunk;
  2. An alternate means of escape and rescue, to be employed where complying escape openings onto a public way are not possible;
  3. Access to the public or employees;
  4. Being a noise source greater than 60 dB.

In this section, simply note the Notice(s) of Limitation being filed and eventually recorded (see example).

Code Plain English
Note on plans regarding the nature of the permit: for (complete)(partial) conversion of an existing building to the specific occupancy with complete build-out of individual spaces; for (complete)(partial) shell conversion of existing building to the specific occupancy with individual spaces to be completed under separate permit; for finished improvement of an individual tenant space within a previously converted or constructed shell building or portion of building; [as applicable for other than JLWQ: for new complete building; or for new shell building]; There are several possible ways to begin, phase and complete the process of creating occupiable live/work spaces. The applicant would need to state which of the following s/he has chosen:
1) Either a complete or partial conversion of an existing building to one or more live/work occupancies, i.e. R-7 or F-7 with "complete buildout of individual spaces," which means that the spaces will be presented to prospective buyers or tenants (or ready for owner/occupant(s)) as finished spaces with Certificates of Occupancy. This will be the most common form of application.
2) Either a complete or partial "shell conversion," which means that the basic core and shell of the building will be completed, including seismic retrofit, upgrade of utilities, repair or replacement of roof and windows, construction of demising walls with proper sound insulation, and installation of "stubbed-in" utilities necessary to meet future Minimum Residential Requirements, per Table 327B-A.
Code Plain English
Any additional information as required or requested by the Fire Marshal or Building Official; "Additional information" required or requested by the Fire Marshall or Building Official would typically relate to unique aspects of the building to be remodeled or converted to live/work. For example, a building might be required to be sprinklered because it is too far from any fire hydrants.

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