Commercial Plan Requirements


The following lists the minimum requirements for a commercial project. In unique situations, additional materials may be necessary. Geotechnical and soils reports are required for new buildings.

Who May Prepare Plans

State law regulating the architectural and engineering professions describes who may prepare plans for buildings. View the Who May Prepare Plans (PDF) for additional information.

Signature on Plans

State law requires that the person who prepared the plans must sign all pages. The city building code also requires an address and telephone number of the person who prepared the plans. Please inquire at the Building and Safety Division if you have any further questions concerning submittal requirements for a specific project.

ADA Requirements

Please contact the Building Division prior to making any improvements to an existing property to ensure compliance with ADA standards and avoid lawsuits. There are both federal and state disability requirements of which the California codes tend to be more stringent.

To assist small businesses to understand and comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice have collaborated to provide an ADA Guide for Small Businesses (PDF).

Minimum Requirements

  1. Plans (PDF)
    View the Plan Requirements (PDF) for additional information.
  2. Plot Plans (PDF)
    View the Plot Plan Requirements (PDF) for additional information.
  3. Floor Plans (PDF)
    View the Floor Plan Requirements (PDF) for additional information.
  4. Exterior Elevation Drawings (PDF)
    View the Exterior Elevation Drawing Requirements (PDF) for additional information.
  5. Foundation and Floor Framing Plans (PDF)
    View the Foundation and Floor Framing Requirements (PDF) for additional information.
  6. Roof Framing Plans (PDF)
    View the Roof Framing Plan Requirements (PDF) for additional information.
  7. Cross-Section Drawings (PDF)
    View the Cross-Section Drawing Plan Requirements (PDF) for additional information.
  8. Title 24 Energy Documentation (PDF)
  9. Smoke Detector Requirements
    On all plans for additions, interior alterations, or interior repairs over $1,000, smoke detectors are required on each floor.
  10. Structural Plans and Calculations (PDF)
  11. Sign Approvals (PDF)
  12. Conditions of Approval
    Where applicable, include Planning Commission Notice of Action letter for all conditions imposed in the approval of a variance, a use permit, a subdivision, or design review.
  13. Encroachment Permit
    This permit is required for all work performed in the right-of-way.
  14. Soils Report
    A report is required for all new construction. This report may be required for other work at the discretion of the building official.
  15. Record of Survey (PDF)
  16. Other Department and Agency Approvals (PDF)
  17. School Impact Fees (PDF)
  18. Sewer Connection and Impact Fees (PDF)


On January 1, 2010, the California Energy Commission's 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings (PDF) and the 2008 California Residential Energy Compliance Requirements for Cool Roofs Handout (PDF) went into effect.

On January 1, 2011, the California Green Building Standards Code (PDF) went into effect. The code sets targets for energy efficiency, water consumption, dual plumbing systems for potable and recyclable water, diversion of construction waste from landfills and use of environmentally sensitive materials in construction and design, including eco-friendly flooring, carpeting, paint, coatings, thermal insulation, and acoustical wall and ceiling panels.

The new codes include new publications: the Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) and the California Residential Code, which will require automatic fire sprinklers in all new single-family homes in California. Download a sample Construction Waste Management Plan (PDF).

The Building and Safety Division is here to help you understand the new requirements. If you have any questions, please contact the division at 916-727-4760.