Building & Safety Division
COVID-19 PROCEDURE: All procedures aim to protect everyone’s health and slow the spread of COVID-19. In alignment with the County Public Health Order effective March 31, 2020, the Building Division is offering its services remotely and as follows:
- Our staff are working remotely to help you, answer your questions, and to conduct plan review. Using social distancing and protective gear, City inspectors may perform on-site inspections on certain projects.
- Most construction must cease through May 3. For residential construction, only projects with an on-site affordable housing component may continue, along with homeless shelters. There are also exceptions for essential healthcare and public works projects. Please read Construction Guidance Pursuant to County Order for full details (below).
- Essential work for the habitability and safety of residences may continue. Applicants will be required to submit documentation that demonstrates the need for work. As an example, you may document a failed water heater or furnace, and then obtain the permit at Building Permit Application Form for the urgent replacement of such necessary fixtures. City inspectors will provide video inspection of the work on the same day of installation.
Construction Guidance Pursuant to the County Order
City guidance relating to the March 31, 2020 County Order Update
The City’s highest priority is to ensure compliance with the County Public Health Order to slow and reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect our most at-risk population.
Given the broad range of construction projects underway or planned within the City of Gilroy, the following guidance is provided to help further interpret the County Order direction (section 13.f.v. of the Order) for construction projects.
It is the City’s understanding that the intent of the order is to limit construction activities to:
- Work that ensures existing construction sites are safe and secure; and
- Work that responds to the current health crisis in the County.
As such, applicants/contractors must be able to demonstrate that any continued work during the current Shelter In Place Order meets one of the above criteria or that the operation qualifies as essential infrastructure as listed below.
Applicants/contractors who wish to proceed with construction projects must demonstrate that the project is consistent with the Order through the submittal of appropriate documentation, including but not limited to, consultant reports, affidavits, and/or client contracts. The City’s willingness to issue permits or inspections will have no bearing on potential future enforcement of the County Order, and the burden of proof for compliance will remain with the applicant.
For electronic plan submittals, email PlanSubmittal@cityofgilroy.org. All new submittals will require a Building Permit Application. Please visit Building Divisions Forms, Handouts and Policies for a complete list.
Construction Projects That Are Allowed
As of March 31, 2020, only the following types of construction projects may continue within Gilroy:
Projects immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure, which is defined as utilities (including water, sewer, gas, and electrical), oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste facilities (including collection, removal, disposal, and processing facilities), cemeteries, mortuaries, crematoriums, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for internet, computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services), provided that these projects carry out those services or that work in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements as defined by the County Order.
Projects associated with Healthcare Operations, including creating or expanding Healthcare Operations, provided that such construction is directly related to the COVID-19 response;
On-site affordable housing that is or will be income-restricted, including multi-unit or mixed-use developments containing at least 10% income-restricted units;
Public Works projects if specifically designated as an Essential Governmental Function by the City;
Shelters and temporary housing, but not including hotels or motels;
Projects immediately necessary to provide critical non-commercial services to individuals experiencing homelessness, elderly persons, persons who are economically disadvantaged, and persons with special needs;
Construction necessary to ensure that existing construction sites that must be shut down under this Order are left in a safe and secure manner, but only to the extent necessary to do so; this includes but is not limited to the completion of work to ensure seismic stability, water and weather proofing, dewatering, and any site modifications to ensure that the project remains safe and secure; and
Construction or repair necessary to ensure that residences and buildings containing Essential Businesses are safe, sanitary, or habitable to the extent such construction or repair cannot reasonably be delayed. The burden of proof for compliance with the County Order will remain with the applicant.
Other construction activities are not exempted and must comply with the Order. The Order allows for minimum basic operations at non-essential construction sites. You may send employees to the construction site to secure the site, maintain security, and to ensure that it does not sustain damage. You may only continue construction on the project to the extent it is necessary to prevent damage to the project, e.g., ensuring seismic stability, maintaining water and weatherproofing, continued dewatering, and any maintenance to ensure that the project remains safe and secure.
County Order versus State Order: The Governor’s March 19, 2020 Executive Order directing all Californians to stay home except for essential needs complements the Santa Clara County Public Health Officer’s existing order, issued on March 16, 2020. While the State has the right to explicitly preempt County orders, the Governor’s Executive Order does not directly preempt the County order and therefore it is the City’s interpretation that the more conservative County Order remains in effect.
Examples Cases of Construction Projects
1. Can I start a new construction project for critical infrastructure, such as a cell site or data center?
Only projects completing work necessary to the operation and maintenance of "Essential Infrastructure" are permitted. An applicant would need to demonstrate through appropriate documentation that the new facility project is required to maintain or support current communications infrastructure through the duration of this crisis.
2. I obtained a Planning approval for a new construction project for an essential business. Can I next get a building permit?
To the extent that staff are available, the City will review plans and issue building permits throughout the duration of the Shelter-in-Place Order; however, this may not mean that a project may begin construction before May 3. Only private construction projects for on-site affordable housing, shelters and temporary housing, or healthcare facilities directly related to the COVID-19 response may begin new construction projects.
3. Can I continue tenant improvements on a grocery store?
No. Commercial businesses, including most essential businesses, are not included in the exemptions for commercial construction and may not proceed.
requirement for essential businesses: SOCIAL DISTANCING PROTOCOL
At or before 11:59 p.m. on April 2, 2020, all Essential Businesses that are continuing operations must prepare and post a "Social Distancing Protocol" for each of their facilities in the County. The Social Distancing Protocol must be substantially in the form attached to the County Order as Appendix A.
The Social Distancing Protocol must be posted at or near the entrance of the relevant facility, and shall be easily viewable by the public and employees. A copy of the Social Distancing Protocol must also be provided to each employee performing work at the facility. All Essential Businesses shall implement the Social Distancing Protocol and provide evidence of its implementation to any authority enforcing this Order upon demand. The Social Distancing Protocol must explain how the business is achieving the following, as applicable:
Limiting the number of people who can enter into the facility at any one time to ensure that people in the facility can easily maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another at all times, except as required to complete the Essential Business activity;
Where lines may form at a facility, marking six-foot increments at a minimum, establishing where individuals should stand to maintain adequate social distancing;
Providing hand sanitizer, soap and water, or effective disinfectant at or near the entrance of the facility and in other appropriate areas for use by the public and employees, and in locations where there is high-frequency employee interaction with members of the public (e.g. cashiers);
Providing for contactless payment systems or, if not feasible to do so, the providing for disinfecting all payment portals, pens, and styluses after each use;
Regularly disinfecting other high-touch surfaces; and
Posting a sign at the entrance of the facility informing all employees and customers that they should: avoid entering the facility if they have a cough or fever; maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another; sneeze and cough into one’s elbow; not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary physical contact.
Any additional social distancing measures being implemented; see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html.
All individuals must strictly comply with Social Distancing Requirements, except to the limited extent necessary to provide care (including childcare, adult or senior care, care to individuals with special needs, and patient care); as necessary to carry out the work of Essential Businesses, Essential Governmental Functions, or provide for Minimum Basic Operations; or as otherwise expressly provided in this Order.
The Building and Safety Division applies building regulations to promote health and safety in all private and public buildings to ensure that new and existing buildings and structures are safe and suitable for their intended uses. We are committed to fulfilling our community's needs, preserving the City's quality of life and contributing to the city's economic development. We strive to provide customers exceptional personalized customer service that creates a pleasant experience and a predictable timeline and solutions in a manner that instills public trust and confidence while exceeding service expectations for all projects.
Services We Provide
- Building Permitting - Process and issue permits for all new development and renovation projects in a timely manner.
- Plan Review - Review all new development and renovation projects to assure compliance to State and City Codes.
- Building Inspections - Inspect all new development and renovation projects to assure compliance with the approved plans.
We hope our website provides the information you are seeking and guides you through your project . If you need additional information or have any comments please contact us at (408) 846-0451.
Customer satisfaction surveys are available at the front counter. Please fill them out to let us know how we are doing and how we can improve. You may also send your comments using the contact information to the right.
Important Notice For Applicants of Commercial Construction:
California Assembly Bill 3002 went into effect on January 1, 2019, requiring cities and counties to provide additional information regarding disability access requirements and related resources to business owners applying for commercial construction permits. Under federal and state law, compliance with disability access laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies to all California building owners and tenants with buildings open to the public.
To read Assembly Bill 3002 click here. Pursuant to California law, this informational notice will also be available in the near future in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Korean.
You may obtain information about your legal obligations and how to comply with disability access laws at the following agencies:.
When Is a Building Permit Required?
A permit is required for projects such as new construction, additions, remodeling, repairs, and extensions to electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- New homes and buildings
- Room additions
- Enclosures and carports
- Decks and patio covers
- Garage conversions
- Landscape irrigation
- Retaining walls
- Window replacements
- Water services
- Sewer services
- Fences over seven feet
- Masonry walls
- Fireplaces and fireplace inserts
- Shower/tub enclosure replacements
- Swimming pools and spas
- Ceiling fans
- Furnace and water heater replacements or additions
Persons wishing to obtain a building permit must visit the Community Development Counter at City Hall. Depending upon your project, a planning process may also be required prior to the building permitting process.
When is a BUILDING Permit Not Required?
In some cases, a building permit is not necessary. However, planning regulations and permitting requirements may apply. Please contact the planning division at (408) 846-0440 to determine applicable regulations prior to constructing any structures or painting the exterior of any building.
A building permit is not required for:
- One story detached accessory buildings used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses, etc., providing the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet and there is no electrical, plumbing or mechanical in the building.
- Wood fences seven feet and less in height. However, front and side yard fences may have height and setback requirements. For these fences please check with Planning and Engineering.
- Interior painting, papering, and similar finish work.
I’ve Already Started my Project Without a Building Permit. Now What?
If construction on a project commences without proper permitting, your project may be delayed until such time that we can determine how to assist you to get your project moving forward properly in accordance with current planning and building regulations. If your project receives a red tag or placard to stop work please contact our Building Division at 408-846-0451 to determine the proper procedures to move forward.
I’m Still Not Sure if My Project Requires a Building Permit?
When in doubt about whether or not your project requires a permit, please call 408-846-0451 to speak with one of our experienced building division employees to determine your City Permit needs.