Extended Shelter In Place Order – Most Residential and Commercial Construction is Prohibited
Please review details of Building Division protocols here.
On March 31, 2020, the Marin County Health Officer issued a revised and extended Order to Shelter In Place. Under the Order, all non-essential construction activities and permitting must stop until such time as the Order is lifted. Only construction work, inspections and permitting for essential activities may continue. Our public counter will remain closed to walk-in traffic until further notice. Applications for new permits will continue to be accepted online, via email to email@example.com and by appointment only. Call 415-899-8989 to make an appointment.
A detailed explanation of our protocols can be found at the link above. It can be used to determine whether a project is exempt from the Order. Please note that we are continuing these services with limited staffing so please be patient as you may experience delays in your application and inspection appointments.
If you visit our lobby or when an inspector arrives at your property, you may be asked questions about symptoms of illness that you or other involved persons may be exhibiting. We are asking ALL customers to provide this information in an effort to identify how to best minimize exposure to our customers and our employees. We want to maintain highest possible staffing levels so that we can continue to provide building services to our community.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions.
Information on How to Apply For a Building Permit Via Email.
Code Enforcement complaints involving life safety issues will also continue as normal; all others will be deferred.
Resale Inspections will be temporarily suspended during the local emergency. Permit histories may be obtained by contacting Alison Fletcher at email@example.com.
Planning Division will continue responding to questions and processing project applications. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
The City of Novato's Building Division is part of the Community Development Department and is responsible for reviewing plans, issuing building permits and conducting field inspections.
Got Building Code or Inspection Questions?
We're here to help you! Contact a City of Novato Building Inspector
In person: at the Development Permit Counter, 922 Machin Avenue,
between 2pm and 4pm, Monday - Thursday (subject to inspection loads).
By email: email@example.com
Ezra Morrison, Building Inspector II, 415-899-8937
Renee Mohr, Building Inspector II, 415-899-8930
Lauro Vasquez, Building Inspector I, 415-899-8935
Building Division Mission:
The Building Division is dedicated to providing the highest level of inspection and plan review services to every architect, engineer, developer, contractor, business and property owner that resides or works within our community. Fairness, equality and the highest standard of professional ethics are our goals in providing our services while enforcing state construction laws and local ordinances that protect our residents. The Building Division works closely with the Planning Division, Code Enforcement Division, Public Works Department, and the Novato Fire Protection District to help maintain a safe and livable community.
NEW! Business Counter
An online tool, powered by Open Counter, to help businesses navigate the City's various permit processes. Businesses will be able to look up zoning requirements, permits and fees. Just answer a few questions about your business to receive a customized report on the permits, licenses, and estimated fees required for your project.
Building Documents & Additional Resources
Fee Schedule Guides, Forms, & Consumer Alerts >>
AB3002 - Assembly Bill 3002 went into effect on January 1, 2019, which provides information regarding disability access requirements and resources to business owners. Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean translations available at this link
What work requires a permit?
Please review this document. Page One lists work that requires a permit. Page Two lists work that does not require a permit.
If this document doesn't make the answer clear, please contact the Building Division at 415-899-8989 for assistance, before proceeding with any construction. You may also come in to One Stop Shop to discuss your project in person.
One Stop Shop Hours:
Monday - Thursday
9am - 11am
Building, Planning and Code Enforcement
Do I need a building permit to build a fence?If you build a fence over six feet tall a building permit is required. An eight-foot tall fence, provided the top two feet are constructed of 50% open lattice or equivalent (i.e. chain link), is allowed on property lines at the rear and sides of most properties when not adjoining a street. Fences within the front yard are allowed up to three feet within 15 feet of the back of the sidewalk, or back of the curb, if there is no sidewalk, or the edge of the improved roadway if there is no sidewalk or curb; six feet elsewhere within the front setback. Please note that the requirements are different for corner parcels and that the sidewalk edge may not be the property line.
How long is my permit good for?A permit is good for a maximum of two years as long as you have periodic inspections within 180 days from date of issue and continuing for the life of the permit. If more than 180 days lapse between inspections, the permit automatically expires and the permit will need to be renewed before any more inspections can scheduled.
I just received a letter from the Building Division saying my permit is going to expire. What should I do?
The letter is a courtesy notice to remind you that your permit will expire because the 180 day time limit from the date of issuance, or date of your last inspection, is getting near. Permits remain valid if you receive inspection(s) within 180 days from date of issuance. Once you have an inspection, the 180 day time period is automatically extended from the date of the inspection up to a full two years from date of issuance. Follow the instructions on the letter to obtain an inspection, or request for an extension if you are not ready for an inspection.
Where do I go to get a Zoning Clearance or Home Occupation Permit?
The City’s zoning ordinance regulates land uses. Some businesses are not allowed in certain zones or may require a use permit. If you plan to operate a business in your home, a Home Occupation Permit is required before obtaining a business license.
Contact the Planning Division for more information:
City of Novato
922 Machin Avenue
Novato, CA 94945
Phone (415) 899-8989
Counter Planner Schedule:
Monday to Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Where do I get information and apply for a business license?
To obtain a business license, you will be asked to complete an application form. If the business is located in Novato, you will also need a Zoning Clearance or Home Occupation Permit from the Department of Community Development. In addition, some businesses may need a permit from the Police Department.
Please review our brochure for all the details on how and when you can obtain a license.
I’m almost at my 180 day limit from my last inspection, but I am not quite ready for my next inspection. Can I get an extension so my permit does not expire?
You can write the Building Official to request a onetime extension. You need to provide your permit number, name, address and phone number plus the reason for the extension request. If you send your request by email (email addresses on Building Division’s Home Page) then you will receive an approval or denial of your request.
If you send your request by US Mail you will not receive a confirmation that the request was approved. Only those requests that cannot be approved will receive a reply.