WM. H. FRY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY Fine Home Remodeling + Custom Home Building
Palo Alto Building and Remodeling Information
The City of Palo Alto, with a population of 60,000 (2009), spans from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the San Francisco Bay Estuary. Over a third of the people who call Palo Alto home, also work there. The Palo Alto building department and planning departments are located in different buildings.
City of Palo Alto Planning and Building Departments
285 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto CA 94301
Green Building in Palo Alto
The City of Palo Alto is dedicated to green building and green home remodeling. In 2008 the city enacted its first Green Building Ordinance. In 2010 the city adopted the California Green Building Code (CALGreen) and added local amendments. While residential projects continue to use the Build It Green, GreenPoint Rated Program, nonresidential projects use CALGreen. As with other cities with green building ordinances, the City of Palo Alto requires new construction projects to exceed Title 24, Part 6 of the California Energy Code by 15%. The City of Palo Alto has set an impressive example with their own green initiatives. Between 2005 and 2009, the city cut its operational costs by over half a million dollars (primarily through natural gas and electricity conservation) and reduced its carbon emissions by 12 percent.
How Hard is it to get a Building Permit in Palo Alto?
No matter what Bay Area city someone is from, they seem to believe that their City is the very hardest for getting building permits. Although getting a building permit in the City of Palo Alto can seem daunting, having a design professional and a contractor who are familiar with the local planning and building departments can make a big difference. Because the City of Palo Alto has regulations that exceed the California Building Code (CBC), it is helpful if your contractor has recent experience building there. Each Palo Alto Residential Building Permit is assigned a weighty 400-plus page residential Inspection Guidelines manual, which outlines inspection requirements that are unique to Palo Alto. As re-inspections cost time and money, familiarity with the local Palo Alto building requirements and building according to local codes is a must for a smooth-running project.
Building a Basement in Palo Alto
Building a basement is a great way to expand the size of your home without expanding its footprint or floor area ratio (FAR). However many properties in Palo Alto have specific challenges related to building below grade level, which significantly raises costs and environmental concerns. If a property has a high water table, basement excavation can require months of dewatering to pump out the water nearby. Properties with clay soils will dewater more quickly than those with more permeable ones. Properties without groundwater nearby do not require the contentious dewatering process. If you are considering Palo Alto basement construction, contact us for a referral to a Bay Area geotechnical engineering firm who can provide guidance on the feasibility of building a basement.