|Painting by Building Inspector Specialist Robert Dunbar|
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.
Revised Construction Advisory Effective 12/21/2020
|Due to the Shelter in Place Order, Planning & Development Services staff are working remotely. Walk-in services are not available.|
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
- 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 for iOS and Android) must complete the “Inspection Screening Form” and email the completed form to email@example.com.
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.
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.
- Contact Us
- Inspection Guidelines
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System Allows you to schedule, re-schedule or cancel inspections.
- Building Permit Forms
- Emergency Call-Out Protocol
- After Hours or Weekend Request
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.
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.
|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|
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.
- Sequence of Inspections
- Schedule an Inspection IVR
- Special Inspection & Testing Agencies
- Construction Hours
- CPA Adoptive Ordinances
- Residential Inspection Guidelines
- Commercial Inspection Guidelines
- Tenant Improvement Inspection Guidelines
- Green Building Inspection Guidelines
- Electrical Inspection Guidelines
- Roofing Inspection Guidelines
- Foundation Inspection Guidelines
- Plumbing Fixture Replacement for Existing Single-Family Residential, Multifamily Residential and Commercial Buildings (SB 407)