The Building Division ensures that construction in the Town is compliant with adopted technical construction codes, in conformance with accepted building practices, and consistent with the Town’s adopted policies and regulations. The Building Division issues permits, conducts regular building permit inspections, performs plan check reviews for construction applications, conducts residential resale inspections, and performs code enforcement for areas under its purview. Visit the Helpful Documents Page to download an application or obtain additional information on Building Division policies and regulations.
Codes & Permits
The Town of Tiburon adopts the California-approved technical construction codes with a limited number of amendments. Specific amendments made by the Town of Tiburon in adopting the technical construction codes can be found in Chapter 13 of the Municipal Code. A summary of amendments to the California Residential Code can be found here.
With few exceptions, building permits are required for all construction involving electrical, mechanical, plumbing, re-roofing or drainage work; for all fences or walls; and for window replacements, kitchen or bath remodels, storage sheds, and so forth. Generally, only cosmetic items such as painting, flooring, carpeting and wallpapering are exempt from permit requirements (Do I Need a Permit?). For single family residences, please refer to the Building Permits Required--Single Family Homes handout for a more detailed list of projects either requiring or exempt from permits. Different rules may apply for multi-family residential and non-residential buildings.
Permits are valid for 18 months; unusually complex project permits can be issued for 24 months in the discretion of the Building Official. If the work is not complete within the initially-approved time period, reactivation fees may be required. A reactivated permit is valid for six additional months. The fees and penalties necessary to reactivate a permit increase with successive reactivations. Refer to Chapter 13 of the Municipal Code for specifics.
Permit Fees & Re-evaluation Fees
The Town’s building permit fee structure is largely based on the estimated valuation of a project. Details can be found in the Building Division Fee Schedule. Separate fees may be charged by the fire district, water district, sanitary district and/or school district, which are different government agencies. When you know the complete valuation of your project, you may call the Building Division for a fee estimate. Before the permit can be finaled, the Town will request a calculation of the actual cost of the project and additional fees, called “re-evaluation fees” will be collected if the actual project valuation was higher than the estimate upon which the original permit fee was based.
Work Without Permit & Penalties
A Stop Work Order may be issued for any work requiring a building permit that was started without the necessary permits. For minor projects valued at less than $5,000 the penalty is $250, and increases to $1,000 plus four times the permit fee for projects valued at more than $50,000. If you have any questions regarding the need for a permit, please call the Building Division rather than risk a Stop Work Order and penalty fees.
Residential Building Reports (RBR)
Prior to the sale or exchange of any dwelling unit, the owner shall obtain from the Town a report of the residential building record showing the regularly authorized use, occupancy and zoning classification of the property and an itemization of code deficiencies in the dwelling unit
The fee for a residential building report is $250 for a single family dwelling and $500 for a two-family dwelling (duplex). For apartment buildings, the fee is $250 for the first unit and $75 for each additional unit. The RBR report should be scheduled as soon as the property is listed to avoid last minute complications. The report will list both “advisory” and “mandatory” correction items, and the mandatory items, which are life/safety code issues, must be corrected within 30 days of the close of escrow. Correction of advisory items is optional. Refer to the Building Division section of the Helpful Documents Page [new link] for additional information.
The Building Division performs a majority of plan checks in-house, but refers complex or unusual projects to an outside professional plan-checking service. Plan checks are routed to the appropriate plan checker following any required Planning Division conformance review. Initial plan check comments (or approval) are typically completed within 10 business days following any Planning Division conformance review.
Depending on the scope of a project, the required building inspections may be as follows:
- Preliminary inspection prior to permit issuance (as required by the Building Official)
- Footing and foundation inspection
- Concrete slab and under-floor inspection
- Frame inspection and close-in inspection (mechanical, electrical and plumbing)
- Energy efficiency inspection
- Lath and gypsum board inspection
- Other inspections (as may be required by the Building Official)
- Special inspection (see Tiburon Special Inspection Form and List)
- Final inspection (see Final Inspection Checklist for Residential Projects)
Building Official Counter Hours
From 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday, the Building Division offers small over the counter plan check service by the Building Official. Interior kitchen and bath remodels with no structural changes, re-roofs, water heaters, in-kind window/door replacement, rooftop solar permits may be eligible for over the counter plan check. Over the counter plan checking and other similar services are limited to 15 minutes per customer. The Building Inspector counter hours for questions only are from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
Emergency building permits will be reviewed and processed during normal work hours (7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday). If an emergency repair is needed during off-hours, please have the work performed by a licensed contractor, take several photographs of each process of the repair for submittal to the Building Division, and apply for an emergency building permit the next business day. Structural repairs will require an inspection report by a California Registered Engineer. The engineer’s report and recommendations must be submitted to the Building Division at the time of emergency permit application.