Plan Submittal & Plan Review


The plans are used to cost out the job, get estimates from any subcontractors, show details in legal documents and to obtain the necessary building permits. Your plans must show sufficient details that a worker could build directly from them.

Examples of work that require permits but generally would not require plans are reroofing, window and door replacements, sandblasting and plastering; replacing heating equipment, repiping a dwelling and small electrical, mechanical, and plumbing jobs.


Minimum information on building plans includes:

  • Standard format for plans is 1/4" per foot scale for floor and foundations plans, sections and elevations, and a 1/8" per foot for site and plot plans on 24x36?paper minimum standards size.
  • A site plan including the lot dimensions, legal description, all existing buildings and proposed construction on the property, distances of buildings to property lines, drainage patterns, electrical system location.
  • A floor plan showing room locations, sized, and uses; doors, location and size of windows, stairs, sizes and spacing of all structural members.
  • Elevations illustrating the building's exterior appearance, architectural features, height, chimneys.
  • Two structural sections showing the building foundation, floor systems, walls, and roof as it would appear if it was cut in two at a particular plane.
  • Electrical, mechanical and plumbing plans are required to show location and size of equipment, wiring switches and fixtures.
  • Disabled access plans are required for additions, alterations and repairs to existing commercial buildings, such as tenant improvements, as well as for new buildings.
  • General information and specification sheet for material and workmanship.
  • Foundation plan showing foundation layout and dimension sizes, reinforcement and detail of anchor bolts, etc.


Preparation of drawings is one of the key steps in the construction process. The City does not provide plan drawing or designing services, but we do provide information and interpret codes to assist you in meeting City complexity standards for approval. The complexity and number of plans required depend on the type of project application. For very small projects not requiring engineering, such as patios covers and one-story wood frame additions, you may prepare your own drawings, provided they are clear, drawn-to-scale and include the details and information needed for approval. If you are unfamiliar with code requirements and drawing plans, you should contact a draftsperson, architect or engineer for this service.

In most cased three sets of plans and two sets of structural and energy calculations are required for submittal. Plans can only be submitted within certain hours ?check with our counter staff at (310) 318-0636 for our current schedule.


By law certain types, scope and complexity of construction will demand the services of licensed technical professionals. In general, a California licensed engineer or architect should be hired for designing new buildings and major remodels which require more extensive plans, calculations, and technical reports, such as:

  • A lot survey map, signed by a land surveyor, or civil engineer within a specific license number range. (plus a height survey for building within 2?of height limit).
  • A report by an appropriately State licensed person may be requested at the time of plan check for the following:

    a. soils report for new building or major remodel

    b. design calculations and details for the building structural system

    c. shoring of vertical cuts over 5' high

    d. electrical systems (generally services 400 amps or more).

    e. Title 24 energy calcs (new buildings, additions, increases in electrical services)

    f. interior acoustical engineering report (based on noise contour map of the City) or sound attenuation between dwelling units in the same building.


To make most efficient use of your time, take the appropriate application form(s) from the display rack located on the wall near the City Hall "Door E" entrance, and complete the necessary information as soon as you arrive at our office. To easily identify the appropriate form, look for the appropriate icon symbol in the upper right hand corner of the form.

Our counter staff will input the information from your application into the computer, calculate fees, assign a plan check/permit number, and route your plans appropriately.

Plans are reviewed in the order they are received. Accelerated plan checks are sometimes available for a 50% additional charge depending on staff availability. If you need this expedited service, please contact our Plan Review Engineers.


The plan checking process is an independent review of the submitted plans and reports. Your plans will be reviewed by our Building Division plan review engineers for mandatory requirements such as structural safety, fire protection, energy conservation, exit requirements, light and ventilation, site grading, and disabled access. Early notification of our engineers will prevent potential problems and help you as the owner avoids unexpected and unnecessary expenses later.

For example, a proposed structural change that will affect the stability of the building will require a new support system as part of the finished building. Adding a second story may require strengthening the existing foundation and framing. If primary beams must be removed, the remaining structure must be properly supported to protect you and your family. Therefore, you must notify your design professional and our plan review engineers of any changes you are making to the plans prior to construction.


After the plan review engineer examines your set of plans and writes a correction list, the Building Division will send a post card to notify the applicant of the job status. As an applicant, you will need to pick up the reviewed plans, make necessary changes, and return them for a second review or "verification" Once fully corrected, the person responsible for designing the project must sign the plans with proper identification, then our engineers will approve the plans as ready for permit issuance.

Please remember that approval of plans and specifications does not permit the violations of any section of the building codes or other City ordinance, federal and state law.

The plans are then turned over to our counter technical staff to check for administrative items, such as written approvals from other agencies, proof of contractor's licenses and insurance, and calculation of remaining fees to be paid. Work cannot commence until all administrative items are cleared. These are discussed in further detail in Permit Issuance.


Submit plans to other applicable county and/or State agencies concurrently to avoid delays. For telephone numbers see the Resource guide.