Frequently asked questions

Are new permit applications being accepted?

The City of Menlo Park is accepting all submittals via the online permit portal.

The building permit process, from application submittal to final inspection sign off, is entirely paperless. To create new applications, receive updates on existing records, resubmit plan check corrections or revisions, you must register and create a user account.

Who can pull a building permit?

A building permit can be pulled by the following the owner/builder or licensed contractor. 

What are the hours of construction?

As long as the noise ordinance is met the City of Menlo Park does not put limits on hours of construction activities. View the noise ordinance for posting.

Can I draw my own plans for a tenant Improvement?

A registered design professional or architect is required.

Can I be my own general contractor/owner builder for my own house?

Yes, for more information visit the City's owner/builder information webpage. 

Is it possible to schedule an over the counter review?

We are not offering over the counter review at this time.

How do I reinstate my permit?

Contact your assigned staff member. If your permit is eligible for reinstatement our assigned staff member will provided you guidance on reinstatement of the permit.

How long does my permit remain valid?

Once your permit is issued your permit is valid for 12 months. The first inspection is required before the 12 month mark lapses. After your first inspection is performed, inspections are required every 180 days. If any of these timelines are exceeded the project is considered abandoned and the permit will be expired, unless the City grants an extension. Once the permit is expired, the applicant will have to submit under the current code cycle.

What building codes does Menlo Park use?

The City uses the 2019 California Building Standards Code. Permits for the 2019 cycle will be accepted until Dec. 15, 2022. The new 2022 code cycle will begin Jan. 1, 2023.

Who should I contact regarding the status of my application?

The best way to view the status of a project is through the online permit portal. You may also contact your assigned staff member.

When do I need a building permit?

Residential work needs to be permitted unless the scope of work is outlined in Menlo Park Ordinance 12.08.010. View the list of exempted work

Nonresidential work needs to be permitted unless the scope of work is outlined in Menlo Park Ordinance 12.06.010. View the list of exempted work.

How can I obtain copies of permits/building house plans?

Contact the permit team for instruction on obtaining copies of permits/building plans.

Where do I find my job bag and permit?

The approved permit package must remain on-site throughout the duration of construction and made available to the inspector. These documents are located in attachments under document status and identified as approved set-permit issued.

Do I need to have my permit, job bag and plans on-site as everything is electronic?

Yes, they all must be on-site. Approved stamped plans can either be a full paper set “24 x 36” minimum or the applicant can have an electronic version; a minimum 12” screen that has the capability to expand the view to the inspector.


When do I need to provide a smoke and co-affidavit and where do I find that information?

A smoke and co-affidavit is required when access to the interior of the building is not available. This is usually required for exterior alterations only. The smoke and co-affidavit can be found under the general Information webpage. 

What life safety items need to be in place to achieve a TCO requirements or final?

TCO requirements vary by project, please contact your inspector.

Where does it say that I need to submit revisions before inspection?

This is part of the City of Menlo Park policies and procedures and is reflected in California Building Code 107.2.1.

What do I do with special inspection reports?

You should have special inspection reports on-site at the time of inspection. A final affidavit will be required for special inspection. For more information, please contact your inspector.

What letters are required for inspections on my project?

Refer to your job bag for required letters. Additional letters may be required for large projects.