Building Inspection

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The Building Inspection Team provides excellent customer service by verifying minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety and general welfare and to provide safety to fire fighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.

Santa Clara County has issued a mandatory directive regarding construction projects. This directive takes effect at 12:01 am on Monday July 13, 2020. Please familiarize yourself with this directive. You can find the directive here: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Documents/Mandatory-Directives-Construction-Projects.pdf


Due to the Shelter in Place Order, Planning & Development Services staff are working remotely. Walk-in services are not available.

To reach Development Center staff, please call 650-329-2496. To learn more about phone services click here.

To reach a Project Coordinator, please call 650-329-2496 and press 1 then 3, or email buildingpermits@cityofpaloalto.org.

For general planning questions, please call 650-617-3117 or email Planner@CityofPaloAlto.org.

To schedule a building inspection, please call 650-329-2496 and press 2.

Before scheduling an inspection, you must implement Appendix A and either Appendix B-1 or B-2, as appropriate, of the County Health Order.

To report a code violation, please use 311 or call our Code Enforcement Team at 650-329-2605, or by email at Planning.Enforcement@CityofPaloAlto.org.

In accordance with the Shelter in Place Order, Code Enforcement staff are not performing on-site inspections.

For COVID-19 related questions, please call the Community Support Call Center at (650) 272-3181.

To submit an application, please utilize the Online Permit Services system.

 

To our valued customers: As you know, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all. Impacts to our organization include a reduction in staff and other resources. Please know we are working hard to respond as quickly as we can to your inquiries, but it may take longer than usual during this time. Please refrain from calling multiple staff, as several team members responding to you will further reduce resources. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.


Online Permit Services

Through the Online Permitting Services (OPS) system, customers can submit applications for planning and building permits, as well as other City-issued permits. The City can continue to serve customers while the Shelter in Place Order continues. To begin a pre-application and learn more head to Online Permit Services.

The following building permit categories are currently available to licensed contractors online through the Citizen Access Portal.

  • Water Back Flow Device
  • Boiler replacement (same location less than 399k BTU)
  • Furnace Replacement (same location)
  • Repair Gas Leak
  • Repipe-Water Piping System
  • Re-Roof
  • Water Heater (No Tankless)
  • Window Retrofit (Residential Only)

Schedule Inspections with Accela Citizen Access or PA iRequest App

Scheduling inspections with Accela Citizen Access (ACA) or the PA Inspection Request Mobile App (PA iRequest) Now Available!

In accordance with the City of Palo Alto’s protocols to ensure compliance with Santa Clara County’s Public Health Order, applicants who wish to schedule inspections online with Accela Citizen Access (ACA) or the Palo Alto Inspection App (PA iRequest)  must  complete the “Inspection Screening Form” and email the completed form to inspectionscreeningform@cityofpaloalto.org

 City staff will review the form and reply back with further instructions on utilizing ACA  or the PA iRequest App for scheduling of inspections.  Only one completed screening form is required for each permit and is valid for all inspections required for the scope of the permit.

Accela Citizen Access (ACA) – View all Building or Fire permits, cancel or reschedule inspections and view inspection history.

Schedule Inspections via phone & Protocol During COVID-19 Pandemic

To schedule a building inspection via phone, please call 650-329-2496 and press 2. Before scheduling an inspection, you must implement Appendix A and either Appendix B-1 or B-2, as appropriate, of the County Health Order.

When you call to schedule, staff will ask if you are familiar with the appendices and verify the protocols have been implemented. In addition, we will ask for 1 point of contact for the inspection; that point of contact will communicate with the inspector.

During an inspection, that point of contact must maintain the 6 foot social distance from the inspector, must wear a cloth face covering over his/her nose and mouth, and ensure the site is ventilated. If an inspector observes the protocols are not being followed, the inspector will leave the site without finishing the inspection. If a second inspection is required, a re-inspection fee will be assessed.  Please, take the protocols seriously to protect the health of everyone supporting your project.

For your safety and that of our staff, inspectors will be following recommended hygiene practices, such as hand washing, between each inspection. Due to this and resource constraints, inspection capacity has been reduced and wait times may increase. 

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Accessibility 

The City endeavors to ensure all construction complies with all state accessibility requirements. We currently offer a courtesy pre-walk that identifies potential plan check deficiencies prior to plan submittal. For more information please contact Robert Dunbar at Robert.Dunbar@cityofpaloalto.org or view our Resources for Accessibility Information.


Emergency Call-Out Protocol

A building inspector will respond to electrical and gas emergencies once repairs have been completed by a licensed contractor. To reach a Building Inspector Specialist, dial (650) 329-2496 and press option 5 (during normal business hours). A Whole House Gas Test is required prior to gas meter release.


After Hours Inspection Requests

The normal work hours for inspectors are Monday through Friday 6:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Overtime inspection requests between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm will be charged at 1.5 times the hourly rate. Overtime inspection requests between 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM on weekdays, or any requests for Saturday or Sunday inspections, will be charged at 2.0 times the hourly rate. There is a two-hour minimum for overtime inspection requests after 6:00 PM.  If more than two hours are needed, an estimated time must be noted on the request and approved by the Chief Building Official.

To make a request, complete the Request for After Hours or Weekend Inspection Form and email it to AfterHoursInspections@CityofPaloAlto.org.

A 5-day advanced notice is required for all after hours inspection requests. You will be contacted by the Building Department once your request has been approved or denied. 


Safety Bulletins and Advisories

Safety advisory's are public information notifications for the community that the Building Division has become aware of, from actual occurrences in Palo Alto. Visit the Safety Bulletins and Advisories Page for more information. 


Training Schedule  

The Building Division periodically offers training for inspectors and contractors dealing with all aspects of the building code. If you have any questions regarding the topic or have suggestions for future training topics please email Rhonda.Parkhurst@cityofpaloalto.org


Contact Us

Chief Building Official  George Hoyt  650-329-2368
Assistant Building Official Evon Ballash 650-329-2223
Inspector Supervisor Korwyn Peck 650-329-2663
Building Inspector Specialist Electrical Rhonda Parkhurst 650-329-2658 
Building Inspector Specialist Accessibility  Robert Dunbar 650-329-2109
Building Inspector Specialist Plumbing/Mechanical Kyle Shea   650-617-3507
Building Inspector Specialist Liam Tierney  650-329-2303

Inspection

In an effort to streamline and simplify inspection requests the City offers a variety of tools to help our customers. Guidelines have been prepared for both residential and commercial projects to help customers understand inspection sequencing and requirements.  

Click on the following links to view the Guidelines. 


Earthquake Safety 

In an effort to provide helpful earthquake preparedness tips, click on the following links. 

Helpful Resources and Websites

The following links provide helpful resources for the construction trades. Please be advised by clicking the links you will exit the city's website.