About the Building Division

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Welcome To The Building & Safety Division

110 S. Pine St. Suite #101
Santa Maria, CA 93458
(805) 925-0951 Ext. 241 [Ext. 2241 as of March 22, 2016]
(805) 928-8275 - fax

Counter hours are 8:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. You may reach us by phone during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

The Building Division is mandated by State Law 17960 (Health & Safety Code) to be responsible for monitoring construction activity, and to determine that any ongoing construction project has the required permits and conforms to the approved plans, any conditions of approval and all applicable Local and State Adopted Codes and standards.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Information

Low Impact Development and You - MAKE the CONNECTION

The Division

To meet these goals and effectively provide our citizens with the best quality service possible, the Building & Safety Division is comprised of three functionally separate, but closely related sections:

  1. Plan Review - This section is divided between Residential and Non-Residential projects. Go here to get handouts, submittal requirements, general rules on timelines and routing procedures. Click here for a Plan Check Application [PDF]. Click here for an interactive (online) permit application.

  2. Inspection - Our inspection staff handles all ongoing building construction and business license inspections in our City. Go here to get information on scheduling inspections, what needs inspection and related questions.

    Permit Processing - Combines staff support and Counter Technician duties. Here you can receive information on status of current plan checks, history of permits, and other related information. Request for records [PDF]. (Click here to request permit records for a specific address.) Call (805) 925-0951 ext. 241 for status of current plan checks.

    (Please note: Due to the differences in local conditions and locally adopted codes, we can only respond to questions and provide information for projects that are within the Santa Maria City Limits. Please be prepared to provide the address of your property or project.)

In response to the Business Attraction and Retention Committees (BARC) efforts to define the plan review of improvements to existing and new buildings and the permit process as a whole, the following is the City of Santa Maria's current break down of the most common permit procedures, reviews and time lines. Please feel free to contact our office if you have specific questions relating to your submittal. (805)925-0951 ext 241

Table Of Contents

Forms & Applications


Basic Site Plan Requirements

The Basic Site plan shall be drawn to a scale of 1 inch equals 20 feet or larger to show sufficient detailing and shall include the following information:

Location of public curb, public and private sidewalks, walks, driveways, paved areas, fences existing and proposed structure, parking and landscaped areas.

Full dimensions of; property boundaries, structures, driveways, parking spaces, distances between structures and between structures and adjacent property lines and distances between street curbs and property lines.

Proposed and existing buildings and their uses.

North arrow, scale of drawing, address and Assessors Parcel Number of the project property.

Show unique features such as; drainage & drainage swales, existing or abandoned wells, sumps, retention basins, easements, trees, & anything that could affect the ultimate development of the site. Show adjacent property, buildings, and structures.

Provide a table showing square footage of; lot, buildings (by use), number of regular, compact and H.C. parking spaces and landscaping.

Name, address and telephone numbers of; applicant, property owner, preparer of plans.

An application with accompanying plans must be submitted at the Community Development Department for plan review for most construction projects in the City of Santa Maria. Plans are reviewed for conformity to State of California and City of Santa Maria Adopted codes.

Non-residential Plan Submittal Checklist

The following items (as applicable) shall be completed or provided prior to acceptance of plan submittal:

Plan Submittal Permit Application:

  1. Submit a completed City of Santa Maria permit application [PDF].
  2. Identify Building Owner, Lessee, Contractor(s), Designer.
  3. Identify building Type of Construction, i.e. V-N, III-N etc.
  4. Identify Total Building Square Footage and Tenant Improvement square footage.
  5. Identify total construction valuation.
  6. Provide accurate and concise description of work which permit is applied for.
  7. Submit a letter from the building owner granting permission to the City of Santa Maria Building Division to issue permits to lessee or lessees representative.
  8. Submit plan review fee as determined by the Building Official.
  9. Submit three complete sets of construction drawings.

Construction Documents:

  1. Construction documents shall be to scale and accurately represent the proposed scope of work for which the permit is applied for.
  2. Construction drawings shall identify the name, address and telephone number of the building owner for which permit is requested.
  3. Construction drawings shall identify the name, address and telephone number of the tenant for which permit is requested.
  4. Construction drawings shall identify the name, address and telephone number of the building designer, architect or engineer responsible for the plan preparation.
  5. Construction drawings shall be accompanied by two copies of structural design calculations as warranted by the scope of proposed improvements
  6. Construction drawings shall be accompanied by two copies of energy compliance documentation as warranted by the scope of proposed improvements.
  7. Construction drawings involving demolition shall be accompanied with documentation showing that the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) have been complied with. Contact the County Air Pollution Control District. (805) 961-8800
  8. Construction drawings involving food service establishments shall be accompanied with two sets of plans approved by Santa Barbara County Environmental Health. (805) 346-8460
  9. Provide a Building Code Data Legend on the plans which identifies Building Type of Construction; Occupancy Group Classification of building and tenant area; square footage of building and tenant area.

Site Plans:

  1. Provide a Site plan showing building footprint; property lines; building set-backs from property lines; north arrow; tenant space location; parking layout; trash enclosure, etc.
  2. Identify required handicap parking stall(s) serving the tenant. Show all existing or proposed striping, signs, off-loading zones, ramps, curb cuts and path of travel to area of remodel.
  3. If the proposed improvements effect services, identify applicable existing or proposed effected utilities such as sewer, water, natural gas and electrical. Document location, sizes and points of connection to effected services.

Floor Plans:

  1. Identify all existing and proposed construction.
  2. Identify the use and sizes of all existing or proposed rooms.
  3. Identify location of all existing or proposed restrooms and show how they shall comply with California Disabled Access Regulations.
  4. Identify widths and heights of all existing and proposed doors and their swing, windows and their openings, stairs or steps, corridors, etc.
  5. Identify all existing or proposed plumbing fixtures.
  6. Identify all existing or proposed heating, air conditioning and ventilation equipment along with their name plate ratings and control locations.

Construction Requirements:

  1. The area of specific alteration, shall comply with the provisions of the California Disabled Access Regulations. Additionally, accessibility compliance for handicapped persons must be shown beginning with the parking stalls, entrance to the building, path of travel to the remodeled area and restrooms serving remodeled area.
  2. As applicable, identify all materials and their strengths for proposed foundations, framing, structural steel, soils, etc.
  3. Provide construction sections and connection details of all proposed framing and insulation of walls, floors, ceilings and roofs showing attachments to supporting elements.
  4. Provide a reflected ceiling plan documenting existing or proposed ceiling construction, light fixtures, mechanical registers, fire sprinkler heads. etc.
  5. Provide construction details of proposed suspended ceilings showing supports, bracing and compression struts.

Plumbing Plans:

  1. Proposed construction involving installation or alteration of plumbing fixtures shall be accompanied by plumbing drawings showing modifications of waste, vent, water or natural gas lines.
  2. Proposed plumbing shall identify piping materials, piping sizes and point of connection of piping for all proposed plumbing or mechanical fixtures and equipment.
  3. Plumbing drawings shall provide a plumbing fixture schedule showing make, model and flow rate of proposed new plumbing fixtures and Btu/hr Requirements of gas fired equipment.
  4. For alteration of plumbing systems, provide waste, water and gas line pipe sizing, documenting existing or proposed service lines are sufficient to accommodate proposed system expansion.

Mechanical Plans:

  1. Proposed construction involving installation or alteration of mechanical heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment shall be accompanied by mechanical drawings showing installation or modifications of equipment curbs, equipment access, ducting, registers, economizers and controls.
  2. Proposed duct work shall identify ducting materials, duct sizes and point of connection to existing systems or new equipment.
  3. Mechanical drawings shall provide a mechanical equipment schedule showing make; model; heating and/or cooling efficiencies; heating and/or cooling input and output capacities; economizers; controls and volumetric flow rate (cfm).
  4. Proposed equipment requiring the installation of hoods, exhaust, and make-up air systems shall be accompanied by construction drawings showing hood and duct sizes, materials, clearances, supporting elements along with construction Requirements for fire-resistive shaft, air balancing, equipment curbs and fire suppression systems.
  5. Proposed new roof mounted mechanical systems shall be effectively screened and details of screen construction provided.

Electrical Plans:

  1. Proposed construction involving installation or alteration of electrical circuiting, fixtures, sub-panels or services shall be accompanied by electrical drawings showing modifications to the electrical system.
  2. Electrical plans shall identify all proposed and required feeder and/or circuiting, wire sizes, wire insulation, conduit sizes and conduit materials.
  3. Electrical plans shall identify all proposed and required locations and mounting heights of all receptacles, switches, signs, controls, sub-panels, and services.
  4. New electrical services shall be undergrounded, have complying panel board clearances, accompanied by single line drawing showing voltages, phases, amperage, short circuit rating (aic), breaker or fuse rating & grounding of service.
  5. Addition of two or more electrical circuits shall be accompanied with panel circuit identification and panel load schedule showing existing sub-panels and/or service is sufficient to accommodate new circuit loads and phase balancing.

Energy Documentation:

  1. Modifications to envelope boundaries of conditioned spaces shall be accompanied by Envelope Certificate of Compliance Forms ENV-1, ENV-2 and ENV-3, as applicable, documenting that the proposed modifications comply with the Building Energy Efficiency Standards.
  2. Modifications to space heating, air conditioning, ventilation and water heating systems shall be accompanied by Mechanical Certificate of Compliance Forms MECH-1, 2, 3 and MECH-4, as applicable, documenting that the proposed equipment or modifications comply with the Building Energy Efficiency Standards.
  3. Modifications to lighting systems located within conditioned spaces and exterior lights controlled from sub-panels located within conditioned spaces shall be accompanied by Lighting Certificate of Compliance Forms LTG-1, 2, 3 and LTG-4, as applicable, documenting that the proposed lighting or modifications comply with the Building Energy Efficiency Standards.

Envelope, Mechanical & Electrical Compliance Certificates must be signed by the designer.

Special Inspection: Click on link below for instruction manual and forms.

Special Inspection Manual and All Special Inspection Forms [PDF]

What Requires Signature Of A California Professional Engineer Or California Licensed Architect?

All plans submitted for permit are required to be signed by either a California Professional Engineer or California Licensed Architect, as specified in Sections 5537 and 6737 of the California Business & Professions Code with the following exceptions for exempt structures:

  • Single family dwellings of conventional wood frame construction not more than two stories and basement in height.
  • Multiple dwellings containing not more than four dwelling units (total of existing plus new) of wood frame construction on any lawfully divided lot. Total of four dwelling units in clusters such as apartments or condominiums,
  • Garages or other structures appurtenant to single-family dwelling or multiple dwellings not more than two stories and basement in height.
  • Agricultural and ranch buildings unless the building official deems that an undue risk to the public health, safety or welfare is involved.

However, if any portion of any structure exempted by these sections, deviates from the requirements for conventional light wood-frame construction or tables of limitation for wood frame construction found in Division IV of Chapter 23 (Section 2320) of the Building Code as adopted by local jurisdiction, then the building official may require the preparation of plans, drawings, specifications or calculations for that portion a Professional Engineer or Licensed Architect. The documents for that portion shall bear the stamp and signature of the licensee who is responsible for their preparation.

Sections 5538 and 6745 of the California Business & Professions Code:

These Sections of the California Business & Professions Code do not prohibit any person from furnishing plans for any of the following:

  • Nonstructural store fronts, interior alterations, fixtures, cabinetwork, furniture, or other appliances or equipment.
  • Any nonstructural work necessary to provide for their installation. However, an unlicensed person may not prepare plans for those alterations that will change or affect any components of the structural system or safety of the building or its occupants. Safety of the building includes such items as exiting, fire, structural, and other code requirements.

Except as specifically noted above, here are some examples of projects that require plans to be prepared, signed and stamped by a California Professional Engineer or California Licensed Architect:

  • New non-exempt buildings and additions to existing non-exempt buildings,
  • Projects with interior or exterior structural alterations,
  • Interior alteration with an occupancy change,
  • All Group A (Assembly) occupancies,
  • All Group E (School and Day Care) occupancies,
  • All Group F (Factory and Industrial) occupancies,
  • All Group H (Hazardous) occupancies,
  • All Group I (Institutional) occupancies,
  • All Group R, Division 2 or 6 Occupancies, and non-exempt Division 1 occupancies,
  • Projects with mixed occupancies,
  • Interior alteration with walls and partitions over 5 feet 9 inches in height or ceiling work which cover a floor area greater than 3,000 square feet, for Groups B, S-1, S-2 or M occupancies,
  • Storage racks over 8 feet in height,
  • Remodeling projects that creates or alters 1-hr fire rated corridors, fire rated occupancy separations or area separation walls.
  • Alteration which changes the means of egress (exit) requirements,
  • Tanks and vessels,
  • Nonstructural components or equipment attached to buildings requiring design per Section 1632.1 (generally equipment weighing over 400 pounds)
  • Energy forms ENV-1, LTG-1, and MECH-1, unless by licensed contractor who performs work,
  • Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems for non-exempt buildings,
  • Remodeling Projects in high-rise (having floors over 75 feet in height) building,
  • Lateral force-resisting systems utilizing poles embedded in the ground,
  • Any project deemed by Building Official to require design by a California Professional Engineer or California Licensed Architect.

What Requires Stamp, And Wet Stamp/ Signature?

  • At initial and all subsequent plan check submittals: Stamp or seal: may be original or copy (with expiration date of the license): all sheets of plans, and cover sheet or first page of the calculations, specifications and reports,
  • At final submittal for permit: Wet stamp and wet signature on cover sheet of plans and cover sheet or first page of calculations, specifications and reports.
  • All other sheets of the final plan set to be stamped, original or copy, but not necessarily signed.

Aiding And Abetting

What constitutes aiding and abetting?

(See: B & P Code Sections 5582, 5582.1, and Title 16, Section 135 and 151 of the CCR for architects, and similarly for engineers under B & P Code Section 6735):

Aiding and abetting occurs when a California licensed architect:

  • Assists unlicensed individuals to circumvent the Architects Pracetice Act. (B & P Code Section 5500 et seq.)
  • Stamps and signs documents which have not been prepared by the architect or in the architect's office or under the architect's immediate and responsible direction.
  • Permits his or her name to be used for the purpose of assisting any person, not an architect, to evade the provisions of the Architects Practice Act.

Residential Plan Submittal Checklist

Each application for a building permit shall be accompanied by three complete sets of construction drawings, along with one additional site plan. The construction drawings may need some or all of the following items:

Plan Format:

  1. Construction drawings shall be submitted on 24" x 36" blueprints or smaller size if scope of work warrants smaller size.
  2. Each sheet of the drawings shall identify the name, address and telephone number of the owner and designer, along with the site address of the proposed construction.
  3. Scales, dimensions & north arrow shall be indicated on each plan sheet. Preferred scale is 1/4" for all construction documents and 1/8" or 1/10" for site plans. All sheets of the construction documents shall be properly dimensioned and drawn to scale.
  4. Plan sets shall be organized and contain a sheet index as per the following plan sheets required. i.e.: 1 of 3.

Site Plans:

  1. Identify all property lines and lot dimensions; easements; set-backs from property lines and existing structures; driveway approaches; building footprint and dimensions; north arrow; existing or proposed fences; sidewalks; landings; finish floor elevations; building square footage; scope of work; applicable codes.
  2. Identify all existing and proposed utility lines such as sewer, water, gas, electricity, cable tv and telephone along with their proposed sizes, materials and associated meters. All utilities are to be undergrounded.
  3. Identify fine grading elevations and lot drainage patterns. Show at all property line corners, the rear yard corner elevations and the two back of curb elevations at front. Identify the high point grade of the rear yard swale and at the turn of the swale/flow line leading to the front or other effective drainage method. Finish floor to be a minimum of 12" plus 2% above the point of discharge from the lot.

Foundation Plans:

  1. Identify slab thickness; concrete strength; moisture barrier; sand fill thickness; reinforcement; first floor hold down locations and types; anchor bolt sizes and spacing; post or column base hardware; soil bearing capacity; exterior landings; split level areas.
  2. Foundation details are to be shown on the foundation plan or properly referenced to the sheet(s) containing the details. Building sections shall be shown cut on the Foundation plan.

Floor Plans:

  1. Identify room dimensions; delineate uses of all rooms; sizes and types of all windows and doors; door swings and landings; floor coverings; ceiling heights of all hallways and rooms; stairs and/or steps; guardrails; attic access; fireplaces.
  2. Provide separate mechanical plan or show proposed and existing furnace location; furnace make, model, efficiency and bonnet capacity; location of all supply and return registers; access and working clearances about furnace; combustion air methods; flue; platforms.
  3. Provide separate plumbing plan or show proposed and existing plumbing fixtures; gas outlets; Btu/hr of each gas appliance; water heater(s); flue location(s); access and working clearances about water heater(s); combustion air methods; mechanical protection from vehicular impact; platforms; tub trap access; tub/shower enclosure type; hose bibs.
  4. Provide separate electrical plan or show proposed and existing electrical meter; 110 volt, GFI, and 220 volt interior and exterior receptacles; interior and exterior fluorescent and incandescent lights; standard, 3-way and 4-way switches; smoke detectors.
  5. Building Sections are to be shown cut on the Floor plan. Provide section cut in each direction.

Floor Framing Plans:

  1. Identify floor joist locations, directions, sizes, grade, type (i.e. TJI's).
  2. Identify supporting elements such as walls, beams, headers, blocking, posts, along with each supporting members size, grade and connecting hardware.
  3. Identify first floor shear wall locations, panel thickness, anchor bolt spacing or sill nailing, strap and/or hold down locations and types.
  4. Identify floor diaphragm sheathing, thickness, panel index, nailing Requirements.
  5. Building Sections are to be shown cut on the Floor Framing plan.

Roof Framing Plans:

  1. Identify roof framing method: Rafters and ceiling joists or truss locations; valleys and ridges, their directions, sizes and grade. If trusses, a truss profile for each truss is to be provided, which identifies truss type and location. Truss engineering is to be provided and coordinated with layout. Hip girder trusses, girder trusses and structural gable end trusses are to be located and identified. Reviewed, Stamped APPROVED by responsible Design Professional.
  2. Identify supporting elements such as walls, beams, headers, blocking, posts, along with each supporting members size, grade and connecting hardware.
  3. For one story and/or two story structures show the shear wall locations, panel thickness, anchor bolt spacing or sill nailing, strap and/or hold down locations and types for the floor directly below the roof structure.
  4. Identify roof diaphragm sheathing, thickness, panel index, nailing Requirements.
  5. Building Sections are to be shown cut on the Roof Framing plan.

Construction Sections:

  1. Identify detailed connections of walls to foundation; floor framing to walls; roof framing to walls.
  2. Identify insulation R-values for walls, ceilings and floors.
  3. Identify materials of all assemblies; i.e. walls, floors, ceiling, roof, shear walls.
  4. Identify ceiling and building heights, pitch of roof, weep screen etc.
  5. Provide stairway section for two story showing stringer, treads, risers, handrails, all connections.


  1. Show all sides with orientation description.
  2. Identify windows, doors, exterior lights, landings, exterior wall and roof coverings, weep screen, veneers, chimneys with spark arrestor, attached planters etc.

Structural Engineering: (Two copies required)

  1. If the proposed structure is of unusual shape, size, split level or significantly alters or impacts an existing buildings structure, the designer shall provide a lateral force analysis and an engineered design which provides a complete load path capable of transferring all loads and forces from their point of origin to the load resisting elements.
  2. Soils report grading and foundation recommendations for the subdivision should be submitted whenever possible for review.
  3. Truss calculations for roof and/or floor design are to be reviewed and stamped APPROVED by responsible Design Professional.

Energy Documentation: (Two copies required)

  1. A completed and properly signed Certificate of Compliance, CF-1R is to be submitted for review. The CF-1R form shall be permanently imprinted on the construction plans.
  2. Compliance Documentation in the form of Prescriptive Packages, Points Analysis or Computer Simulation calculations are to be submitted for review.
  3. Heat loss and cooling load calculations are to be submitted for review whenever the bonnet capacity of the furnace exceeds 45,000 Btu/hr or air conditioning is installed.
  4. Plans shall identify single and dual pane glazing Requirements, shading devices, thermal mass areas, furnace and water heater(s) model and capacities.

Grading Permit

  1. Plan submittal for review of grading plan shall include 5 sets of grading plans with 2 extra landscape plans, and shall include a soil engineering report, hydrology calculations, and public improvement plans.
  2. Information/Approvals required in order to issue a Grading Permit include:

Grading & Drainage Plan Standards [PDF]

Building Permit

  1. Plan submittal for remaining building plan review and elect./mechanical/plumbing plans shall include the complete floor plan, architectural elevations, roof plan, complete electrical, mechanical and plumbing plan, with completed Energy Efficiency Documentation. Information required in order to issue the Building, Plumbing, Mechanical, and/or Electrical permits include:

Express Review

The purpose of Express Review is to allow a project to proceed through the plan check process, permitting process, and construction process in an expeditious manner. Plan review shall be given priority status. All projects with complete plan submittals may utilize the Express Review procedure. Review for permit may not begin prior to Planning Commission approval of Planned Development Permits. Applicant/Owner/Designer assumes all responsibilities to assure that plans are consistent with all conditions of approval of C.U.P., P.D., Subdivision, and other approvals.

Plans must be complete prior to their acceptance for initiation of Express Review procedure. A complete submittal shall include five (5) complete sets of plans with 2 landscape, grading plans, and public improvement plans and shall include all support documents including soil engineering report, hydrology calculations, structural calculations, energy efficiency documentation, etc... Plan submittal shall also include mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and demolition plan if applicable.

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