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Guiding Principles

The following guiding principles are intended to provide the public (referenced herein as “applicant;” e.g., property owner, design professional, contractor) with information on what to expect from the City of San Rafael building and fire permit and inspection process. The principles also cover what the City expects of the public to ensure that the permit and inspection process is expeditious and smooth.

  1. The City staff will provide courteous and expeditious service and direction to the applicant. Every effort shall be made to respond to inquiries within the next business day.
  2. The applicant will provide accurate, detailed and complete information to City staff. The more information that is provided about a proposed project, the greater level of direction and feedback that can be provided by City staff.
  3. For Over-the-Counter permits, the City will make every effort to issue the permit the same day for construction activity that does not require extensive plan check review or major structural improvements.
  4. During the initial building permit filing and review process, the City will provide a best estimate of permit costs/fees to the applicant, but the final amount cannot be confirmed until the permit is ready for issuance.
  5. The applicant will prepare and submit accurate and complete plans that reflect existing conditions and proposed improvements.
  6. The City will abide by the estimated time frame that is provided to the applicant for review and issuance of a building permit.
  7. During the permit review process, the City will provide the applicant with information on the permit application status through:
    • identifying information on who to contact for plan review status;
    • maintaining e-permits, which provides the applicant with electronic access to their permit application; and
    • proactive notification during key steps and milestones in the process.
  8. The applicant will call for a City inspection during the appropriate and prescribed times during the construction process. The City will make every effort to respond to an inspection request within the next business day.
  9. The applicant will complete all construction consistent with the construction plans approved with the building permit.
  10. During the construction inspection process, the City will not direct or mandate changes or improvements that have been completed in accordance with the City-approved construction plans, unless such changes are necessary to address a critical health, life or fire safety issue, in which event any related re-inspection fees will be waived.
  11. City staff members are committed to serve the applicant and strive to meet their expectations.

City staff is available to answer questions, to help guide applicants and to assist in identifying solutions to permit and construction-related concerns.

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