How to use CIRB’s Online Reporting Form

How to properly and efficiently input and categorize monthly building permit data in the CIRB (Construction Industry Research Board) Online Reporting Form at www.cirbonlinereporting.org


Have you tried submitting your department’s monthly building permit activity through cirbonlinereporting.org? It’s fast, easy, and we’re here to show you how to make the best use of this FREE online tool!

Watch our YouTube video below for the form tutorial:

For best video clarity:

  • Click this link: https://youtu.be/f1L-1B583VA
  • Under video Settings, choose HD
  • Expand video to Full Screen
  • Make sure your audio is on to hear instructions
  • Read below for a full audio transcription:

Hello, my name is Allison Paul, and I am the Research Director for the CIRB Report, also known as the Construction Industry Research Board, a service provided by the California Homebuilding Foundation.

This video will demonstrate the proper and efficient use of our online form, which is utilized by jurisdiction building departments to submit monthly building permit data directly into our database.

The webpage URL is cirbonlinereporting.org. We recommend that you bookmark this page to your browser for easy access. I’m currently using the Google Chrome browser; if you go to the 3-dot icon on the top, right side of your browser and select Bookmark, you can save this page for future use.

Information submitted through this form is digital and secure, sent directly to our organization; however, if you would like to print this form for your own records, we recommend that you use the Safari web browser for printing.

We urge you to read our disclaimer before proceeding to enter building permit information, so you can see exactly which permit criteria is acceptable. This includes submitting only issued permit records for the given month, omitting any duplicate records, and making sure the valuations, not fees, are what’s included in your assessment.

Next, you will input your First Name, Last Name, Email and Phone number. If you have used this form before, you will notice the fields auto-populate with previously entered information. Please make sure all your contact information is correct and current before proceeding to the next section.

I’m going to demonstrate the use of this form with a sample submission from Alameda City in Alameda County for February 2019.

Under Report Information, select your county and under city, begin typing the name of your city and then select it once it appears.

Under Month of Submission, the current month will automatically be selected, so make sure you are choosing the month prior, which would be February, to submit permit information for the most recently completed month.

You may also submit building activity for past months from January 2018 through current. We are no longer accepting data for 2017.

If your jurisdiction did not issue any permits applicable to the categories in this assessment, please scroll all the way down to the end of the form and check the box “No applicable permits were issued this month.” Checking this box will clear all form fields, so do not check unless there is no activity to report.

Once your contact and department information are completed, you will move down to New Residential Building.

One very important feature to note is the blue, circular ‘I’ icon on the left side of each building code. These are the tool tip icons, which provide detailed definitions of each research code and what specific information should be included in each form field.

For instance, a new additional dwelling unit or casita would be considered a New Single-Family house by our definition and should be placed in category 101.

A conversion of an existing home or garage into a secondary dwelling unit would be considered an alteration or addition to an existing structure, and would be placed in category 434, but we will get to that in a bit.

Also, keep in mind the distinction in this section between the number of housing units and the number of permits. For a new 101, for instance, if there were 10 new single-family dwellings issued in February, there should be 10 corresponding permits, one for each unit. I will enter a sample valuation of $5 million. Please refer to the tool tips definition for exceptions on condo or townhome permits.

Now, let’s say Alameda issued one duplex valued at $500,000. I would enter 1 permit for the duplex structure and 2 units; one for each dwelling, and the valuation.

Similarly, with a triplex or 4-plex, let’s say one triplex (which would be 3 units) and one four-plex (which would be 4 units) were issued in February for a total of 7 units, there would be two issued permits reporting those units. We’ll give a sample valuation of $800,000.

And finally, the five-or-more structures category refers to new apartment buildings. For instance, two new 10-unit apartment buildings valued at $2 million each with separate permit records would have 20 total units in the unit category, 2 corresponding permits, and $4 million in valuation. 

If the permit is for a mixed-use structure, such as an apartment building with retail and parking on the ground floor, we would like to ask that you split the valuation by use based on square footage. If you need help with this calculation, you can email us at the contact information on the bottom of the form, or you can simply attach the permit copy to this form, and we can do the calculation for you. I will show you how to attach a document toward the end of this tutorial.

Now that we’re done with the new residential section, we move onto the new commercial or new non-residential buildings.

Again, this is only for new commercial buildings, such as churches, hospitals, offices or restaurants; not remodels to existing commercial structures.

We’ll give sample valuations of a new $12 million hotel, a new $6 million industrial building, and a new $300,000 restaurant. We’ll also put $200,000 in the 329 category, which is structures other than buildings, such as decks, patios and pools.

Again, the tool tip icons on the left here will show you exactly which valuations belong in the correct categories.

Once this section is complete, we move onto the Additions and Alterations section, which is only for building permits pertaining to existing structures.

The 434 category refers to home remodels, conversions, and additions. We’ll put a sample valuation of $2 million here and $3 million in the 437 category, which is for non-residential or commercial remodels/additions or conversions.

The 438 category will have a sample of $100,000 for either a remodel to an existing residential garage OR the issuance of a new garage.

The final section of the form is for Energy Permits, which by our definitions are residential and commercial solar installations, HVAC changeouts and EV charger stations. All definitions are pursuant to the most current Title 24 California codes and regulations.

As you can see, we only track the number of permits issued in this section. So, if there were 12 solar installations on a residential building, either on a new or existing structure, I would enter that information under permits with a sample valuation of $400,000.

Please note, if your jurisdiction does not report solar valuations, you may leave the valuation section blank, but please include the total permits issued. Valuations are required on all other sections of the form.

For non-residential solar installations, we will enter 2 permits issued and a sample valuation of $200,000. Please note, if the commercial solar installation is $1 million or more in construction valuation, we ask that you place the value in category 325, which is the public works category, and keep the permit number in this section.

Residential and commercial HVAC changeouts are similar; however, we are asking for the number of changeouts, not the number of permits, so if one permit reported 3 system changeouts, we would enter the number 3 in the permit category and a sample valuation of $20,000.

We’ll assume there were no commercial HVAC permits issued this month and leave this section blank.

And finally, we’ll finish the form with 3 EV charger station permits with a value of $3,000. Though our tool tip icon definition stipulates outlets, unless it’s for a 240-volt plug or higher, we ask that you only input permits for fully functioning EV chargers in this category.

Now that we’ve completed the building activity, let’s say there was a mixed-use permit you would like us to review, or a permit record you aren’t sure how to classify – this is where you would attach the file, so I’m going to select a sample PDF from my desktop and attach. This attachment will only accept a small file size, so large permit records or volumes of permit copies will not be accepted.

Under Additional Notes, I will indicate my request for verification on the mixed-use permit.

Then, when everything is added and reviewed, I will click Submit. You should see a receipt pop up in your inbox and an option to print or edit any information on the form you just submitted.

Here at CIRB, we will see your email come through and review your building activity before importing into our database. We will also contact you directly for any questions or concerns regarding the data on your form.

This concludes the video tutorial for the CIRB online reporting form. We hope you will find this tool convenient and accessible in submitting your monthly building permit activity. You can reach CIRB at the contact information provided at the bottom of the form’s webpage with any questions or concerns you may have.

Thank you.