Okay, I’ve obtained my permit, now what?
The permit you have received allows you to begin the construction process. You have already contracted with a California licensed contractor, or decided to do the work yourself, and have already started purchasing your construction materials. Either way, you want to be sure your project is properly constructed and will be safe for you, your family, and friends when completed. As soon as work is started, the inspection process begins. Our inspection professionals will conduct periodic inspections, as required, as you and your contractor proceed through the construction process.
I was given a copy of my plans and a thick card called an "inspection record" when I received my permit. What do I do with these?
The copy of the plans received have been reviewed and approved by the City. This is the set your inspector will refer to when conducting inspections on your project. The inspection record is the property owner’s official record of the inspection activity that has been approved for your project. The approved plan and inspection record must be made available to the inspector every time he or she visits the project. It is necessary to post the inspection record in an accessible, plainly visible location that has been protected against damage from weather, unauthorized personnel, etc. Lastly, for projects constructed by contractors or persons other than the property owner: It is strongly recommended that the property owner receive the inspection record, not a copy, which clearly indicates approval of the final inspection before making the final payment for the project.
At what stages of construction do I need to call for an inspection?
State and local codes require inspections be performed periodically at certain stages of the construction process. Each stage, as listed below, must be inspected after it is completed and before the work is covered or concealed from view.
NOTE: Please be sure the City approved construction plans and the inspection record are available for the Inspector before he or she arrives at the job site.
The basic stages for required inspections are as follows:
- Rough or precise grading: For smaller residential additions or alterations, a grading permit or inspection is usually not required. Certain site conditions, however, may warrant the submittal of a grading plan for plan review, grading permit issuance and inspection approval before foundation work can commence. Soil and civil certifications also must be submitted and approved by the City prior to inspection approval of the footings or foundation.
- Under slab utility inspection: Prior to footing or foundation inspection, soil/groundwork shall be installed under applicable test, and left exposed for inspection. For a two-pour footing/slab design, footings may be excavated and inspected with the soil/groundwork. For a single pour design, soil/groundwork shall be approved and trenches compacted prior to requesting a footing/slab inspection.
- Footing or footing/slab: To be performed after footings have been excavated, forms are set, steel reinforcing is in place and all anchor bolts and hardware are secured in place and before placement of concrete.
- Concrete slab or under-floor inspection: For slab on grade projects with a two-pour footing/slab design, after inspection approval of all utility groundwork, backfilling and compaction of utility trenches, installation of the vapor barrier, sand or gravel bedding materials or reinforcing steel as may be required by the designer and after removing any dirt or debris from the top of the concrete footings.
- Under floor insulation: For raised floors over a crawl space, to be conducted after installation of floor insulation but before installation of floor sheathing.
- Roof sheathing and shear panel nailing: To be conducted after installation of the roof sheathing and wall shear panels. Please be sure the sheathing and panels are fully nailed, all roof penetrations have been cut, the roof is stacked with the roof covering materials, and before installation of underlayment materials.
- Top out (rough) plumbing, rough mechanical and electrical: After installation of all water and waste plumbing lines, mechanical equipment and ducting, and electrical panels, boxes, fixtures and conductors. Plumbing lines shall be under test and electrical grounding and bonding shall be completed. On smaller projects it is common to combine these inspections with the "framing" inspection listed next.
- Framing: To be conducted after all framing, draft stopping, and bracing are in place, the rough plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems have been inspected and approved, all chimneys have been constructed or installed, and after installation of the roof covering.
- Insulation: To be conducted after installation of all floor, wall, ceiling and roof insulation, and all openings or gaps have been caulked or sealed.
- Gypsum board (drywall) and interior and exterior lath: To be conducted after installation of all interior gypsum board, interior and exterior lath, however, before starting the taping or plastering. Please note, "green board" is not approved as a tile backing within conventional tub/shower enclosures. Cement board or plaster is required under the tile finish.
- Plaster (stucco) brown coat: To be conducted after installation of scratch and the second "brown" coat of plaster, however, before any finish or color coat. Note: The plaster brown coat shall be fully cured before calling for inspection.
- Final: To be conducted after the site finish grading is complete and drainage pathways have been established, the exterior and interior improvements are completed, all electrical, plumbing and mechanical equipment and fixtures are installed, and the building is ready for occupancy. All inspection requirements or conditions of approval placed on the project by other City agencies must also be approved by those agencies prior to requesting a final inspection from the Building Services Division.
For raised floor projects, after construction of the first floor framing and installation of under floor utility lines, conduits, etc., but before installation of the floor insulation and sheathing.
Please note: In accordance with State law (AB 2977), as of January 1, 2007, if a swimming pool or spa is present at the site, the pool drain(s) shall be equipped with an approved anti-entrapment cover.
As part of the inspection process, it is common to conduct "partial" inspection(s) thereby necessitating follow-up inspections to assure a safe structure. Also, State or local codes or the design professional of record may require submittal of clarifying engineering or special inspection reports prior to approval of a given inspection. Lastly, the list above represents the inspection requirements for a typical residential project. Please check with your inspection professional at (714) 741-5307 for specific inspection needs on your proposed project.
My project is complete and final inspection has been approved. Now what do I do with the plans, permit documents and the inspection record?
Keep all of these documents in a safe location. These are your permanent records of the work performed and may be needed in the future whenever a real estate transaction, such as the sale or refinance of your home, takes place. Further, your home insurer may need confirmation of City approval whenever you make adjustments to your homeowner’s insurance policy. Though the City will retain the permit document and record of inspection indefinitely, the plans will likely be discarded after retaining them for two years, as prescribed by State law. Your retention of these documents will simplify any building projects or real estate transactions you may consider in the future.