Create your building project plans

Follow these rules to create plans that meet the building code.

We need all the information on your plans to make sure they meet building code requirements.

The drawings must show the location, nature and extent of the work proposed. 

They must show that the work follows the building code and all relevant laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations. 

See the original building code of these requirements in Section 106A.3.3.

Plans and specifications

Draw plans and specifications to scale on paper at least 11-inch by 17-inch (279.4 mm by 431.8 mm) or larger. 

Include the Assessor’s block and lot number on the first sheet or page of each set of plans and other submittal documents.

Dimensioned plot plan

Your dimensioned plot plan must show:

  • Sidewalk widths
  • Street widths
  • Lot lines
  • Locations of proposed or existing buildings or structures on the property,
  • Full widths, heights and setbacks of buildings on adjacent properties if their locations or heights affect the code requirements
  • Locations of parking or loading spaces
  • Locations of above-ground hydrants and utility poles

We may require that you have a registered land surveyor or registered civil engineer survey and stake the lot. This helps determine the proper location of the building on the lot. You must file a copy of this survey with your permit application.

Grades

Show all existing and future finished grades for new buildings or structures and additions to existing buildings or structures. 

Show the official curb and street grades.

Dimensioned exterior elevations

Show:

  • All types of wall materials, locations and sizes of wall openings
  • Roof heights
  • Setbacks from property lines
  • The existing and future exterior grade profiles on each side of the building extending to any adjoining buildings
  • Structures or properties which might be affected by this work (unless you submit a topographic map prepared by a licensed surveyor).

Dimensioned architectural floor plan

Show each floor, basement and roof unless the floor plans are identical. 

The scale must be bigger than 1/8 inch (3.175 mm) to 1 foot (304.8 mm). 

The floor plan must show the gross area of each use area on each floor, and the total area of each floor. 

Identify the use or occupancy classifications of all new and existing areas of the building.

Do not superimpose structural, mechanical and other detailed information unless the floor plans are legible and understandable.

Alteration plans

Show all existing partitions and construction that are to be removed or altered and all that are to remain unchanged.

Cross-sections

As necessary, include information on location and depth of footings of adjacent buildings or structures which might be affected by this work.

Architectural and structural materials

Information about all architectural and structural materials to be installed in the building.

Fire-resistive assemblies

Show all fire-resistive assemblies and elements.

Show provisions for keeping the integrity of fire-resistive assemblies or elements where penetrated.

Building utilities

Show the installation, location, and support of building utilities. This includes plumbing systems, and electrical equipment, wiring, and systems.

Structural plans and calculations

Show all components of the vertical load carrying system. This includes joists, beams, girders, columns, bearing walls and locations and depths of footings. 

Show connection details and cross-sections. We need to see how the loads are transferred and carried from the roof to the foundation. 

Show the live load on the plan for each use area.

Show all elements of the lateral force resisting system. This includes horizontal and vertical diaphragms, connections, and details that completely identify the lateral force load path from the roof to the foundation.

Special inspections

Include any special inspections and structural observation programs required by Sections 106A.3.5, 1704 and 1709.

Geotechnical report

We need a geotechnical report when your work includes:

  • Significant grading
  • Excavation or fill
  • Special foundations

We may also need a geotechnical report when the site is included in the State of California Seismic Hazard Zones Map, Special Soils Map or other area identified by the Building Official. See Appendix J, for additional grading permit requirements.

Check your property’s environmental categories for more information.

Sprinkler systems and standpipes

Show hydraulic design drawings and calculations for sprinkler systems and standpipes.

Other information to show

Information on plans showing compliance with:

  • Energy conservation requirements
  • Sound transmission requirements
  • Disabled access requirements
  • Water conservation and reclamation requirements
  • Lactation room requirements of Section 1209.5 of the Building Code.

For a building that has a notice of violation, show how all unsafe conditions will be fixed.

All other information necessary for determining compliance with applicable codes and regulations.

Other materials

For some projects the Planning Department, Department of Public Works, or other agencies need landscaping and irrigation plans.

Include photographs when the Planning Department or other agencies need them.

Stamps

Professionals of record must stamp the plans. 

See more in our Information Sheet G-01 Signature on Plans.

See more about how to add electronic stamps.

Last updated May 06, 2021