County of Marin - News Releases - Permitting Process

For Immediate Release
April 03, 2020

Sheltering Order Changes Permitting Process

County’s Building and Inspection Services altered by COVID-19 response

San Rafael, CA – In response to an updated sheltering order related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the County of Marin has adjusted its building permit and inspection services to reflect restrictions on some types of construction work.

The Community Development Agency (CDA) is directing the temporary closure of all construction work in the unincorporated areas of Marin County except projects deemed essential under the March 31 stay-at-home order. The Marin County Chief Building Official has approved the service adjustments, and staff is working with town and city planning and building inspectors to ensure consistent interpretation of the sheltering order. CDA has added answers to frequently asked questions about the topic on its website.

Contractors with current construction projects are being notified of the order to temporarily cease work, and job sites must be left in safe and secure until the order is lifted. There were about 1,700 active permits in Marin at the time of the March 31 order. Stop-work orders will be issued if unauthorized construction continues.

Some work will be allowed to continue if deemed essential, such as finishing work on a home’s only bathroom or hooking up electrical or gas connections on a stove to make a kitchen usable. In addition, CDA is allowing the continuation of work and issuing building permits for essential construction projects such as for health care facilities, income-restricted affordable housing, shelters, and temporary housing. Permits may be issued for construction or repair necessary that ensures residences and essential businesses are safe, sanitary, or habitable if the work cannot reasonably be delayed.

Those intending on filing applications for construction jobs should call (415) 473-6550 or email the building inspection staff to discuss the application, submittal eligibility, and requirements. CDA’s Development Services Center located inside the Marin County Civic Center is closed, and there is no walk-in service. Staff will respond to inquiries made by phone or email.  

Field inspection services are available only for essential projects. Inspectors will comply with social distancing requirements under the sheltering order and use discretion in methods for verifying compliance with codes. 


William Kelley
Deputy Director of Building Inspection and Safety
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 308
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6556
Email: William Kelley
CDA webpage