Updated Tuesday July 14, 2020

Due to COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place order, the Planning & Building Department has curtailed many of its services. Below, find alternatives to visiting the currently-closed service counter as well as information on residential construction activities, permit applications, inspections, public meetings and more.

Regarding Residential Construction Activities

The shelter-in-place order has caused the shut-down of many construction sites. To understand how the Department interprets the order and determines exemptions, view the April 9th Services Update News Item attached to the bottom of this page.

Access Counter Services

The San Mateo County Planning & Building Department Counter is closed until further notice. Instead, please contact us at one of the email addresses below where your request will be processed as quickly as possible. Please contact:

Access Other Planning & Building Services

From now until May 3, 2020, and possibly beyond, the Planning and Building Department will attempt to provide most of the services it typically provides, using a primarily remote workforce. No counter service will be provided, and applicants and permittees should expect significant processing and inspection delays. Access services as described below.

Building Permit Applications

During the current closure, we will be accepting applications for building permits via email only.  Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Fill out an application form.
  2. Print, sign, scan and send to buildingcounter@smcgov.org. If you don’t have access to a printer, it is o.k. to send the form filled out and saved to a PDF.
  3. One of our Building Technicians will contact you regarding submittal of plans and fees

Planning Permit Applications

We will also be will be accepting applications for planning permits via email only.  Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Fill out an application form.
  2. Print, sign, scan and send to PlanningProjects@smcgov.org. If you don’t have access to printer, it is o.k. to send the form filled out and saved to a PDF.
  3. One of our Planners will contact you regarding submittal of plans and fees
  4. If you have already submitted a planning permit application and have been assigned a project planner, you may contact that planner directly via email for more information or a status update. Planners email addresses can be found on our Department contact page.

More About Permits

To learn more about the issuance of permits and how permit applications currently being prioritized, view the April 9th Services Update News Item attached to the bottom of this page.

Building Inspections

Inspections are scheduled by calling the Automated Inspection Line at (650) 295-3650. On the day of the inspection, the 2-hour inspection window will be posted on the Automated Inspection Line by 8:00 AM, so please call (650) 295-3650, follow the prompts to enter your permit number, and press option number 5 to get your inspection time. Then call the Building Department’s main line at (650) 599-7311 before 10:00 AM and leave a message with your address first, the permit number next, and the contact name and number of the person that will be onsite for the inspection, as the building inspector will contact this person to perform the inspection remotely.

Within the 2-hr. window the inspector assigns for the inspection, the contact for the inspection will get a text message on his/her cell phone from the building inspector, with a link that the contact will need to click on. This link will ask the contact to allow the inspector access to:

  1. The cell phone’s Location Services,
  2. Camera,
  3. Microphone.

Once connection has been established, the inspector can conduct the inspection through remote video, so the inspector can talk to the contact and use the camera on the phone to zoom in and out on the inspector’s end if there is something that needs to be looked into more closely. So it will work similar to a Facetime call on an Iphone, but it is not Facetime, and there is no app that needs to be installed or downloaded on the phone.

Code Compliance

We will continue to investigate zoning, building code and other land use regulation violations, with some limitations as necessary to prevent in-person interactions. Priority will be placed on investigating potential violations that impact public health and safety. Please submit complaints via email to: codecomplaint@smcgov.org.

View Public Meetings Remotely

Remote access is established for all public meetings hosted by the Department. For further information on how to access a public meeting, go to the meeting page for the meeting date.  Instructions for participation will be posted 7 days prior to the meeting date.

View all upcoming public meetings »