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Grading Plans

A grading plan is a drawing of a proposed construction site showing existing and proposed topography, environmental controls, demolition and improvements to the land.

Grading plans required

A grading plan is required for projects proposing grading work that meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • The cut or fill depth exceeds three and one half feet, except excavation below finished grade for basements and footings of a building, retaining wall or other structure authorized by a valid building permit
  • Fill material is placed on an existing slope steeper than five units horizontal to one unit vertical
  • The grading work adversely affects existing drainage patterns
  • The toe of any fill slope or top of any cut slope is closer than one foot to a property line
  • The amount of soil moved exceeds one hundred cubic yards


Some exemptions from these requirements are allowed. Applicants are encouraged to contact Engineering Department staff to find out if their project qualifies for an exemption.

Plan preparation

All grading plans must be prepared by a registered professional engineer in accordance with City Engineering Standards and the Carlsbad Municipal Code. Each grading plan must include provision for protective measures for the control of urban pollutants, erosion, and sedimentation.

Grading security

Work done pursuant to a city approved grading plan must be secured by a Grading and Erosion Control Agreement to guarantee performance of the grading work in compliance with the grading plans. The city engineer may waive the requirement for a secured agreement or waive all or any portion of the security amount; provided however, that any reduction in security will not extend below the amount needed to ensure public safety and to secure the site against erosion.

Useful links

The grading plan check application form and additional information about grading plans are available at the following links:

Contact Information

Development services office
1635 Faraday Ave
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Get directions

760-602-2750  Engineering

General Information

Business hours
Monday - Thursday:
7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Friday:  8 a.m. to 5 p.m.