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State and city ordinances require that construction design be approved before a permit can be issued. This approval process is referred to as "Plan Check" and is a review of all aspects of the construction in order to verify that it complies with current state and municipal codes.

Submittal requirements can vary depending on the type of construction proposed. For a detailed description of submittal requirements refer to city bulletins: Tenant Improvements or Residential Construction. An application must accompany all submittals.

Plans and any related documents will be routed to various city divisions for review. The applicant will be notified of  any corrections needed. Revised plans can then be re-submitted for a second review. This process is repeated until all corrections have been addressed. (CMC 18.04.20)Plan check expiration

The Plan Check process extends for one year from the date of submittal. All reviews not completed within a year will expire. In order to renew an application after expiration a new set of plans must be submitted with payment for the subsequent plan review. (CMC 18.04.035)

Although most construction work requires a permit, some types are exempt. A list of the work for which you do not need a permit is stated in the municipal code. (CMC 18.04.15). For additional clarification on your specific project please contact the building division staff.

Some minor construction, plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits can be issued directly over the counter without a formal plan review. An application must always be submitted along with any site or construction information required for the specified work.

Once the plan check process has been completed a building permit may be issued to either the owner of the property or a State licensed contractor (with proof of a current City of Carlsbad business license and workers compensation insurance) or an authorized representative of either. After work has begun inspections by City inspectors will be performed throughout the construction phase as required.

Permit expiration

A building permit will expire if:

  • A required inspection is not approved within 180 days of permit issuance.
  • Work is commenced and then stopped because no approved inspection has occurred within 180 days from the last successful inspection.
  • The job has not been finaled within 3 years from the original issuance date.

See municipal code for more information on permit expiration.

The Building Division performs field inspections in order to ensure that the work under an issued building permit is being done according to the approved plans.

Request an inspection in one of two ways:

  • By phone at 760-602-2725. This is a recorded message. Leave the permit number, project address, type of  inspection being requested and a contact phone number. Requests made by 3:30 p.m. on any business day will receive an inspection on the next business day.
  • By email at  Include the permit number, project address, type of  inspection being requested and a contact phone number. Requests made by 3:30 p.m. on any business day will receive an inspection on the next business day.

Following is a list of inspections performed by the Building Inspectors. 

 of the forms to meet zoning setback requirements, elevation of the forms to meet flood control requirements, depth and width of the footing, and proper placement, size and grade of reinforcing steel. All required hold-down bolts and straps are expected to be hung on templates. The UFER ground is checked for proper installation and location.

Thickness of the slab, placement of sand and vapor barrier, size, spacing and support of reinforcing bar.

Sub-floor framing:
Size, spacing, grade, span, lap and support of floor joist and girders and clearance to grade. Rough plumbing, mechanical and electrical. Under floor ventilation and access.

Roof sheathing framing:
Size, spacing, grade and span of rafters and purlins. Framing hardware, i.e., hangers, straps, etc. Structural supports, i.e., posts, beams, headers. Sheathing panel index, shear diaphragm, shear transfer. Plumbing and mechanical vents through the roof. Trusses, installed per plan, truss calcs available for inspector.

Location, panel index, size and nailing of shear walls. Hold-down hardware, shear wall anchor bolts, plate washers. Location and size of doors and windows. All windows must be installed to check for emergency egress, glazing and flashing.

All structural, rough plumbing, rough mechanical and rough electrical installations are checked at framing. Structural: size, spacing and grade, span and support of joist. Cutting, notching and boring of studs, joists, and review interior shear walls.

Rough plumbing:
Drain, waste and vent piping capped or plugged outside the building and filled with water until vents overflow to test for leaks. Proper location of all fixture stud cuts as shown on floor plan. Drain and vent sizing, wet venting, slope and support of drain lines. Approved joints and fittings. Location and size of  cleanouts. Protection from physical damage for non-metallic piping. Water piping: static pressure on lines. Proper material, location, size and supports.

Rough mechanical:
Proper material, size location, support and installation of all duct work. FAU compartment: supply air (plenum), return air, combustion air and condensate drain line(s). Fire and draft stopping. Combustion vents: location and clearances.

Rough electrical:
General wiring to convenience outlets and lights. Grounding and bonding: metal boxes, cold water piping, grounding electrode conductor, neutral and grounding busses. Wiring/conduit locations: support and protection, GFCI and smoke detector circuits, laundry and kitchen circuits. Clearances at subpanels and service entrance equipment. Rated boxes in fire separations.

Check for compliance with Title 24 Energy requirements: Insulation placement, windows, doors, plumbing pipes, and electrical wire holes are sealed.

Proper type and thickness. Nail or screw spacing.

Kraft paper type, connection, and number of layers are per code requirements. All holes in Kraft paper are sealed.

Gas test:
After drywall has been placed, an air pressure test is required per current code.

Electrical final:
Prior to the final inspection, a final electrical inspection is required to release the electric meter for testing. All wiring must be complete and all electric switches, plugs, lights, and cover plates must be installed. All circuit breakers are to be identified for the load served.

Final inspection:
If not previously checked the following items will be verified at Final: i
nstallation and operation of all plumbing fixtures; water heater seismic strapping, pressure relief valve and piping; all gas-burning appliances connected to gas supply; all mechanical equipment in and operational; clearances around panels; GFCI/AFCI breakers or outlets tested; smoke alarms; handrails and guards installed with proper size, connections, and spandrel spacing; fire resistive construction for occupancy separation or rated wall construction sealed to maintain separation integrity including rated doors and door jambs; compliance with Title 24 standards, such as energy and accessibility, as required; grading for drainage around structure; correct placement and size of address; landings at exit doors.

After building plans are approved and a permit is issued, changes or revisions to the building project may occur. These alterations must be reviewed to assure that they comply with current codes and are compatible with all other elements of the construction.  Two copies (residential) or three copies (commercial/industrial) of the revised sheets, along with a Plan Change Form, must be submitted to the Building division. Providing a detailed description of the affected areas contributes to a more speedy review.

Contact Information

Building Division
760-602-8558 fax

1635 Faraday Ave.
Carlsbad, CA 92008

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General Information

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