Permits at Hand

Browse Building Permits on a Phone

Permits at Hand is a phone app for searching and browsing building permits which have been issued by communities in Marin County, California. Now with version 2 most communities are supported.

The app — for Apple and Android devices — makes public data more conveniently accessible. You can see the permits issued for any property in the supported communities, using either a Google map to select the property, or a search engine to find the property by its address.

Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play

More on this page:
Walk through the app
What can the app do?
Who will find it useful?
Release history

Walk through the app

See all the building permits that have been issued for the property at a selected address. The most recently-issued permits come first. Tap on a permit to see details.
For any building permit, browse all the public data created by the building department when the permit was issued. The data includes a description, dates and attachments which often include plans. There are also records of inspections that may have been done as the work progresses.
Choose a community in Marin County using a dropdown menu. A few are not available yet.
After choosing a community you can browse for a property by using the map, or do a search by address. Using the map, tap on a grey property marker to select that address. An information card appears with a button to access the permits for the selected address.
As an alternative to using the map, you can search for an address using smart auto-completion. Just type the first few characters, starting with the number, and choose from the matching addresses. The property at that address will be selected on the map.
The screenshot shows one of the smart features of the search: “4 th” finds both “4 Thomas Ct” and “4 3rd St”.

What can the app do?

With this app you can:

  • Find all the building permits that have been issued for a selected address.
  • See detail for every permit, including status, plans, inspection reports and other attachments, as well as issue date, owner and contractor names and all other public data.
  • Select an address using a map. Using the “my location” feature, select any property near you.
  • Search by address, using auto-complete for easy typing.

Who will find it useful?

Check on the permits issued for your property, or get background information on construction activity in your neighborhood.

Prospective buyers:
See the permits for work that has been done on a house you are considering.

Real estate professionals and contractors:
Enjoy the convenience of viewing permits on your phone.

Release History

Version 2.1.2 has improved performance, and fixes a bug that could result in erroneous “No Permits Found” messages on a device operating on a data plan other than WiFi.

Version 2.1.1 fixes a bug that resulted in the permits for certain properties in Mill Valley not being listed, if one of them lacked an “issued” date.

Version 2.1.0 is faster, and now can view building permits issued by Belvedere, as well as most of the other communities in Marin County, CA. The speed increase is most noticeable for the larger communities, such as San Rafael and Novato. Several small bugs and glitches have been fixed as well.

Version 2.0.0 With this first release of v2 we now support most communities in Marin County, CA! Not just San Rafael but now also Novato, Mill Valley, Sausalito, San Anselmo and many others, including all the unincorporated towns and villages. As before, all the building permits for any property in these communities can be viewed, with all available detail. Finding the permits is faster, too! We now automatically detect which jurisdiction issues permits for a property. There are many other minor improvements and bug fixes.

Version 1.1.1 Improvements include better fuzzy search for addresses, in particular numeric street names (first/1st), as well as better messages when an error occurs, and bug fixes.

Version 1.1.0 With this upgrade you can search permits issued for properties in San Rafael by Marin County as well as the City of San Rafael. The County has jurisdiction for properties in unincorporated areas of San Rafael. Both the City and the County are automatically searched for a given property.

Version 1.0.0 The first published version of Permits at Hand gives users convenient access to building permit data on a smartphone. Permits issued by the City of San Rafael for any property in their jurisdiction [can be found] by a combination of map-based navigation and/or address search.