Kitchen Remodel Permit Requirements
The on-line permit is available for properties in Sunnyvale with a residential zoning district. Zoning district information is available on-line by clicking on E-Zoning.

If a permit is not available on-line, the permit can be obtained at the One-Stop Permit Center, City Hall, 456 W. Olive Avenue between the hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.

A permit is required for kitchen remodels that include the replacement of kitchen cabinets. A permit is not required for kitchen countertop replacement or re-facing of existing cabinets. If a permit is required, it shall be obtained prior to the start of the remodel.

Following is a listing of the general requirements based on the 2016 California Building Code, 2016 California Residential Code, 2016 California Electrical Code, 2016, California Green Building Standards (CalGreen), and 2016 California Energy Efficiency Standards. Contact the Building Safety Division for any questions or additional information, including requirements for new/altered plumbing or mechanical (exhaust hood).

Electrical Requirements
Receptacles shall meet all of the following requirements: (CEC 210.8, 210.12, 210.23, 210.52, 406.12)
  • GFCI protection shall be provided for all countertop receptacles, receptacles within 6 feet of a sink (including below counter and behind an appliance), and for receptacles supplying dishwashers. The reset button for GFCI receptacles shall be installed in an accessible location (i.e. not behind an appliance).
  • All outlets and devices (i.e. receptacles, lighting, hoods, etc.) in the kitchen shall be AFCI protected and tamper-resistant (TR).
  • Receptacles shall be provided at all countertop areas with a minimum dimension of 12 inches.
  • Countertop receptacles shall be located so that no point along the wall is more than 24 inches from a receptacle.
  • Countertop receptacles shall be located no more than 20 inches above the countertop.
  • Islands/peninsulas shall have at least one receptacle mounted not more than 12 inches below the countertop and where the countertop does not extend more than 6 inches beyond its base.
  • Electric stoves and ovens shall be supplied with a 40- or 50- amp branch circuit.
Kitchen receptacles shall be supplied by circuits meeting all of the following requirements: (CEC 210.11, 210.52, 422.16)
  • Countertop receptacles shall be supplied by a minimum of two 20-amp branch circuits.
  • A dedicated circuit is required for cord and plug connected range exhaust hoods. Separate circuits may be required for the garbage disposal, dishwasher, and built-in microwave based on the manufacturer’s requirements and the motor rating.
  • Any new receptacles added in the dining area, breakfast room, pantry, or similar area shall be supplied by a 20-amp circuit, the countertop circuits may be used to supply these areas.
  • The existing electrical panel may need to be upgraded, or a sub-panel added, if the requirements above cannot be accommodated.
Lighting Efficiency(CEES 150.0(k))
  • All lighting fixtures shall be controlled by either a dimmer switch or by a vacancy sensor switch that requires a manual on activation (does not automatically turn on) and automatically turns off within 30 minutes after the room is vacated.
  • Under cabinet lighting shall be on a separate switch from any other lighting.
  • All light fixtures shall contain bulbs that are labeled as JA8-2016 (JA8-2016-E for sealed lens or recessed fixture). Screw base bulbs are permitted, except in recessed lighting fixtures.
  • Recessed lighting shall be listed as IC (zero clearance to insulation) and AT (air tight), be sealed/caulked between the fixture housing and ceiling, shall not contain a screw base socket, and contain bulbs marked with JA8-2016-E efficiency label.
Water Efficient Plumbing Fixtures (CalGreen 301.1.1)
All existing non-compliant plumbing fixtures (based on water efficiency) throughout the house shall be upgraded whenever a building permit is issued for an addition, alteration, or improvement. The following table shows the fixtures that are considered to be non-compliant and the type of water-conserving plumbing fixture that shall be installed in place of non-compliant fixtures: *
Plumbing Fixture Non-Compliant Plumbing Fixture Required Water-Conserving Plumbing
Fixture (maximum flow-rates)
Water Closet (Toilet) Greater than 1.6 gallons/flush 1.28 gallons/flush
Showerhead Greater than 2.5 gallons/minute 2.0 gallons/minute at 80psi
Faucet -Bathroom Greater than 2.2 gallons/minute 1.2 gallons/minute At 60 psi
Faucet - Kitchen Greater than 2.2 gallons/minute 1.8 gallons/minute at 60 psi (average)
        * Residential building constructed after January 1, 1994 are exempt from this requirement.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms (CBC 907.2.11, CRC 314 and 315)
Smoke alarms shall be installed on the ceiling or wall (between 4” and 12” of the ceiling) in all sleeping rooms, each area/hallway adjacent to sleeping rooms, each story of the building, and in any basement. Smoke alarms shall be replaced 10 years after the date of manufacture listed on the alarm (if no date is listed the alarm shall be replaced). Newly installed smoke alarms shall have a 10-year battery.

Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms shall be installed on the ceiling or wall (above the door header) in each area/hallway adjacent to sleeping rooms, each occupiable story, and within a bedroom if the bedroom or attached bathroom contains a fuel-burning appliance. CO alarms are not required if there is no fuel-burning appliance or fireplace in the house and where the garage is detached from the house.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are required to be listed by the California State Fire Marshal. To confirm if a certain device is listed, refer to the following web page:

The Kitchen Permit is NOT available on-line if you are:
  • Removing or replacing walls.
  • Removing or replacing windows.
If any of the above conditions apply, the permit shall be issued at the One-Stop Permit Center, City Hall, 456 W Olive Avenue. Specific process information is available at the Building Division web site.

  • A minimum of two inspections are required for kitchen remodels. A rough electrical inspection should be scheduled after the electrical boxes are installed and before any devices are connected. Any other structural, mechanical, or plumbing alterations should also be scheduled for a rough inspection. The final inspection should be scheduled after all the work is completed.
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