Residential Plan Review Guidelines
The following guidelines, while not all-inclusive, are intended to help you prepare residential plans that are essentially “complete”. A complete set of plans allows us to (hopefully) approve them, but even if corrections are needed, a complete plan usually only requires a single set of revisions.
We recommend that you print or copy these guidelines for your use. Comments or questions regarding this document are welcome and will be used to expand and improve the next version. Before You DesignResearch your parcel! Many plan review issues center around planning considerations such as building setbacks, building height, drainage easements, airport safety districts, or flood zones. Obtain a copy of the Subdivision Map, Parcel Map, or Record of Survey, as well as the Grant Deed. Contact the Planning Department and give them your Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) to learn the zoning of the parcel, and the setback requirements from property lines and road easements (you can find your APN on your property tax bill). Note that these restrictions generally apply to buildings of all types: dwellings, garages, barns, etc.
Consider the physical characteristics of the land and the (above) restrictions prior to finalizing the design and placement of your structure. Even if your parcel is forty acres far from town, or a lot in an established subdivision, proper research in advance can save a significant amount of time and money down the road. It is easier to design a building to fit the land than it is to modify the building, move large amounts of earth, or build expensive retaining walls to accommodate a "stock" plan - the finished product is usually more desirable as well.
Collect the design criteria needed for your building. Depending on the type of structure you are planning, you will need some or all of the following information: seismic (earthquake) zone, wind speed and exposure, soil bearing capacity; snow load, flood zone, and climate zone. Click on Building Design Criteria.
What Should the Plans Look Like?
What does the Plan Reviewer Look For?The Site Plan
The Building Plan
Structural - Foundation Plan
Structural - Floor-framing Plan
Structural - Framing Plan
Structural - Roof-framing Plan