Are licensed architects always required for plan drawings?

Eric

Administrator
Staff member
Apr 16, 2023
697
123
Has anyone ever dealt with situations where the renovation work requiring permitting is relatively minor compared to what the building department is requiring in terms of plan drawings? I was recently quoted $17,500 for remodeling work that's mostly drywall/flooring work, with only a small amount of plumbing and electrical involved. The City is requiring that I obtain plans from a licensed architect, which I understand will cost in the ballpark of $5,000. You can see how that added cost blows up the total project cost and makes me concerned about whether/how I should proceed.
AdobeStock_213623242.jpeg


I basically have an alcove in my family room that was originally constructed to accommodate the deeper vacuum tube TVs, back when houses were built with that kind of entertainment center in mind. Our laundry room shares a wall with the alcove such that the alcove essentially takes up space in the laundry room and causes the laundry room to be smaller than it otherwise would be if that wall were flat and the alcove wasn't there. My project would involve "pushing out" the alcove to create a flat wall in the family room and add square footage to the laundry room. I could then mount a flat screen TV in the family room where the alcove used to be and add a utility sink in the laundry room where the new square footage is created. Permits would be required because of the minor plumbing and electrical work involved. For plumbing, I'd be extending hot/cold water lines and drainage to add the utility sink. For electrical, I'd be moving one electrical outlet and one switch by a few feet each.

I called the building department and asked a permit tech if a lower budget sketch (e.g., on graph paper) would be acceptable in lieu of paying thousands of dollars to have a licensed architect prepare plans, especially considering how relatively small my proposed plumbing/electrical changes would be. They took a moment to confer with their senior permit tech and responded that, no, that wouldn't be acceptable. They said that plans prepared by a licensed architect are always required no matter how minor the plumbing/electrical work.

The problem is that I'm much less inclined to do the project if the total cost inflates by ~30% on account of needing to enlist a licensed architect for what I consider to be relatively minor plumbing/electrical work. I don't want to complete unpermitted work but there's only so much money I'm willing to spend and I don't want to feel ripped off by what I consider to be excessive and unreasonable architectural design services.

Is it normal for building department staff to have zero flexibility when it comes to working with homeowners on plan drawing requirements? Would other jurisdictions always require that the homeowner spend thousands on a licensed architect no matter how minor the plumbing/electrical work?
 
Location
San Marcos, California, United States
Has anyone ever dealt with situations where the renovation work requiring permitting is relatively minor compared to what the building department is requiring in terms of plan drawings? I was recently quoted $17,500 for remodeling work that's mostly drywall/flooring work, with only a small amount of plumbing and electrical involved. The City is requiring that I obtain plans from a licensed architect, which I understand will cost in the ballpark of $5,000. You can see how that added cost blows up the total project cost and makes me concerned about whether/how I should proceed.
AdobeStock_213623242.jpeg


I basically have an alcove in my family room that was originally constructed to accommodate the deeper vacuum tube TVs, back when houses were built with that kind of entertainment center in mind. Our laundry room shares a wall with the alcove such that the alcove essentially takes up space in the laundry room and causes the laundry room to be smaller than it otherwise would be if that wall were flat and the alcove wasn't there. My project would involve "pushing out" the alcove to create a flat wall in the family room and add square footage to the laundry room. I could then mount a flat screen TV in the family room where the alcove used to be and add a utility sink in the laundry room where the new square footage is created. Permits would be required because of the minor plumbing and electrical work involved. For plumbing, I'd be extending hot/cold water lines and drainage to add the utility sink. For electrical, I'd be moving one electrical outlet and one switch by a few feet each.

I called the building department and asked a permit tech if a lower budget sketch (e.g., on graph paper) would be acceptable in lieu of paying thousands of dollars to have a licensed architect prepare plans, especially considering how relatively small my proposed plumbing/electrical changes would be. They took a moment to confer with their senior permit tech and responded that, no, that wouldn't be acceptable. They said that plans prepared by a licensed architect are always required no matter how minor the plumbing/electrical work.

The problem is that I'm much less inclined to do the project if the total cost inflates by ~30% on account of needing to enlist a licensed architect for what I consider to be relatively minor plumbing/electrical work. I don't want to complete unpermitted work but there's only so much money I'm willing to spend and I don't want to feel ripped off by what I consider to be excessive and unreasonable architectural design services.

Is it normal for building department staff to have zero flexibility when it comes to working with homeowners on plan drawing requirements? Would other jurisdictions always require that the homeowner spend thousands on a licensed architect no matter how minor the plumbing/electrical work?
I haven't dealt with a situation like this before. It's weird to me they would require an architect to plan it out when it's such a small amount of work to be done. It's not like it's the whole property or a massive addition. I wonder if it would be acceptable to reach out to a licensed architect with your drawn up plans, and ask if the plans on par with what they would have done. Though I could see them charging for that too.

It's crazy the costs are so high for this sort of thing. I looked it up in Michigan, and I'm not 100% sure. It sounds like for smaller projects it's possible you won't need an architect to sign off. But they mentioned something about single family homes.

I hope you can find a solution where it's not costing you $5K just to get the ball rolling.
 
Good morning, I am a building inspector and plans examiner. If you are building prescriptively, that means all elements of your project are covered in the current code for your municipality, there typically is no need for a design professional to be involved. Basically, if it comes out of the adopted code book there should be no need for an engineer or architect to design your project. Your state has adopted the code book for this reason.

some things that may put you in a position to need some engineering:

  • if you are using engineered wood (LVL, PSL and so on)
  • if you beam spans exceed the tables in the code
  • if you wall height exceeds the table within the code
  • if your soils are questionable
  • anywhere extraordinary forces are acting on the proposed structure

that is definitely not an all-inclusive list but should get you going in the correct direction.

Hope this helps answer the question...

Have a great day!
 
Has anyone ever dealt with situations where the renovation work requiring permitting is relatively minor compared to what the building department is requiring in terms of plan drawings? I was recently quoted $17,500 for remodeling work that's mostly drywall/flooring work, with only a small amount of plumbing and electrical involved. The City is requiring that I obtain plans from a licensed architect, which I understand will cost in the ballpark of $5,000. You can see how that added cost blows up the total project cost and makes me concerned about whether/how I should proceed.
AdobeStock_213623242.jpeg


I basically have an alcove in my family room that was originally constructed to accommodate the deeper vacuum tube TVs, back when houses were built with that kind of entertainment center in mind. Our laundry room shares a wall with the alcove such that the alcove essentially takes up space in the laundry room and causes the laundry room to be smaller than it otherwise would be if that wall were flat and the alcove wasn't there. My project would involve "pushing out" the alcove to create a flat wall in the family room and add square footage to the laundry room. I could then mount a flat screen TV in the family room where the alcove used to be and add a utility sink in the laundry room where the new square footage is created. Permits would be required because of the minor plumbing and electrical work involved. For plumbing, I'd be extending hot/cold water lines and drainage to add the utility sink. For electrical, I'd be moving one electrical outlet and one switch by a few feet each.

I called the building department and asked a permit tech if a lower budget sketch (e.g., on graph paper) would be acceptable in lieu of paying thousands of dollars to have a licensed architect prepare plans, especially considering how relatively small my proposed plumbing/electrical changes would be. They took a moment to confer with their senior permit tech and responded that, no, that wouldn't be acceptable. They said that plans prepared by a licensed architect are always required no matter how minor the plumbing/electrical work.

The problem is that I'm much less inclined to do the project if the total cost inflates by ~30% on account of needing to enlist a licensed architect for what I consider to be relatively minor plumbing/electrical work. I don't want to complete unpermitted work but there's only so much money I'm willing to spend and I don't want to feel ripped off by what I consider to be excessive and unreasonable architectural design services.

Is it normal for building department staff to have zero flexibility when it comes to working with homeowners on plan drawing requirements? Would other jurisdictions always require that the homeowner spend thousands on a licensed architect no matter how minor the plumbing/electrical work?
You should check the jurisdiction's municipal code. Per the IRC, the jurisdiction is required to state in the statutes (municipal code) if construction documents are required to be prepared by a licensed design professional, otherwise, you could prepare the drawings yourself.
 
Boy there is some bad advice here. Especially the build prescriptively concept because the codes and standards are adopted. If codes and standards were not adopted, there typically is not any requirement to attain a local permit to follow them. You attain the signature and seal of a licensed engineer or architect and by virtue of that seal, it means the codes and standards ARE being followed and have been designed accordingly.

Must muni's where the homeowner is doing renovation or repair work themselves, don't necessarily need permits. However, if there is additional square footage being added; the permit confirms the work via the professional seals AND is the means for the muni to inspect AND is the means to have the square footage added to the gross square footage for taxation purposes.

The signature and seal of a design professional certify the codes and the accuracy of the square footage and 5K cost is SUPER cheap.
 
Thanks everyone for your input on this!

I think the overall award for best advice on this goes to @Emily C, who recommended I double-check with my Building Official to confirm whether the department truly doesn't have wiggle room on the licensed architect requirement (see this post).

Well, I spoke to the Building Official earlier today and, contrary to what the permit techs told me, he said that a sketch (that I can do myself; aka no architect required) should be totally sufficient for permitting purposes. He said getting a permit should only take 2-4 days. For a small project like mine, he said they'd probably just have a permit tech review it and there'd be no need to involve a plans examiner. He also said he wouldn't anticipate correction requests for smaller projects like mine unless I really omitted something critical - i.e., the 2-4 day timeline should stick.

The Building Official also helpfully explained how I can go about preparing super simple versions of the three required application components: 1) site plan cover sheet, including scope of work and applicable codes, 2) existing floor plan, 3) proposed floor plan. He said all my sketches can be very simple, e.g., although the site plan needs to include an outline of the whole house, I only need to delineate where the laundry room is. Nothing needs to be to scale, I just need to draw lines, etc., showing how the plumbing/electrical is changing.

Moral of the story: don't hesitate to ask around your building department if you're unsure about the information you're getting. Big shout out to David Yorba, Building Official for San Marcos, CA for being super helpful today.

By the way, I told Mr. Yorba that I review/issue permits for a living, albeit in a completely different field, and was geeking out over the opportunity to submit my building permit application (I'm sure he thought I was a little weird, lol).

Thanks also, @kevboe, for the helpful explanation re: building prescriptively and why an architect probably shouldn't be needed. @SiteConEng, I appreciate the perspective on the merits of signed/sealed design drawings - if this had been a much larger project, I'm sure that would have been required.
 
Thanks everyone for your input on this!

I think the overall award for best advice on this goes to @Emily C, who recommended I double-check with my Building Official to confirm whether the department truly doesn't have wiggle room on the licensed architect requirement (see this post).

Well, I spoke to the Building Official earlier today and, contrary to what the permit techs told me, he said that a sketch (that I can do myself; aka no architect required) should be totally sufficient for permitting purposes. He said getting a permit should only take 2-4 days. For a small project like mine, he said they'd probably just have a permit tech review it and there'd be no need to involve a plans examiner. He also said he wouldn't anticipate correction requests for smaller projects like mine unless I really omitted something critical - i.e., the 2-4 day timeline should stick.

The Building Official also helpfully explained how I can go about preparing super simple versions of the three required application components: 1) site plan cover sheet, including scope of work and applicable codes, 2) existing floor plan, 3) proposed floor plan. He said all my sketches can be very simple, e.g., although the site plan needs to include an outline of the whole house, I only need to delineate where the laundry room is. Nothing needs to be to scale, I just need to draw lines, etc., showing how the plumbing/electrical is changing.

Moral of the story: don't hesitate to ask around your building department if you're unsure about the information you're getting. Big shout out to David Yorba, Building Official for San Marcos, CA for being super helpful today.

By the way, I told Mr. Yorba that I review/issue permits for a living, albeit in a completely different field, and was geeking out over the opportunity to submit my building permit application (I'm sure he thought I was a little weird, lol).

Thanks also, @kevboe, for the helpful explanation re: building prescriptively and why an architect probably shouldn't be needed. @SiteConEng, I appreciate the perspective on the merits of signed/sealed design drawings - if this had been a much larger project, I'm sure that would have been required.
You should be VERY VERY careful here. There are laws in all 50-states that regulate the practice of architecture and engineering and what is allowed and NOT allowed by State Law regarding the practice. Unlicensed individuals, that engage in the practice, can be fined to a degree that would make the fee you would pay an architect seem cheap by comparison. It is NOT up to the muni to regulate or allow/disallow such things - it soley relies upon anyone who decides to refer you to the State Board and if the board feels you violated the law, you have the option to pay a fine, or suffer prosecution by the State District attorney office.

So you need to be VERY careful on what you do, what you certify to, and what you submit. For example, there have been individuals who have been fines 5000.00 and more throughout the united states, that appear at county public hearings to oppose land use applications who try to offer technical information in opposition to the development. Sometimes its traffic, sometimes their opinion of land use, sometimes drainage. "IF" they go too far in their technical description, there are many, many cases of State Boards filing a complaint against the individual for unlicensed practice of engineering.

So to fully CYA; you should contact the State Board of technical professions and tell them what you are preparing to submit to the county (or city) and ask if it constitutes the practice of engineering or architecture. Else your design fee of 5K could look very small if a complaint is filed (and fyi...no statute of limitations on when a complaint can be filed against a person who engages in the practice without a license).
 
I think the requirement for a licensed architect to prepare plan drawings for minor renovations differs places to places. In some places you don't not need a licensed architect but you might still need someone with skills in architectural design to create the plans. That's because you will have to show in papers what you plan to do.
 
You should be VERY VERY careful here. There are laws in all 50-states that regulate the practice of architecture and engineering and what is allowed and NOT allowed by State Law regarding the practice. Unlicensed individuals, that engage in the practice, can be fined to a degree that would make the fee you would pay an architect seem cheap by comparison. It is NOT up to the muni to regulate or allow/disallow such things - it soley relies upon anyone who decides to refer you to the State Board and if the board feels you violated the law, you have the option to pay a fine, or suffer prosecution by the State District attorney office.

So you need to be VERY careful on what you do, what you certify to, and what you submit. For example, there have been individuals who have been fines 5000.00 and more throughout the united states, that appear at county public hearings to oppose land use applications who try to offer technical information in opposition to the development. Sometimes its traffic, sometimes their opinion of land use, sometimes drainage. "IF" they go too far in their technical description, there are many, many cases of State Boards filing a complaint against the individual for unlicensed practice of engineering.

So to fully CYA; you should contact the State Board of technical professions and tell them what you are preparing to submit to the county (or city) and ask if it constitutes the practice of engineering or architecture. Else your design fee of 5K could look very small if a complaint is filed (and fyi...no statute of limitations on when a complaint can be filed against a person who engages in the practice without a license).

The drawings I submitted with my permit application are shown below and attached. I appreciate the word of warning, @SiteConEng, but I don't think anyone can possibly accuse me of legal misrepresentation here ;). For any authorities who may be reading, I want to be clear that my 10-year-old son - who drew out the below site plan - is neither a licensed architect nor engineer.

1715976573566.png


I think the bottom line - and what I was told by San Marcos' Building Official - is that you shouldn't need to retain a licensed architect/engineer for the purpose of depicting de minimis amounts of regulated work on a building permit application. I'm sure that requirement varies by jurisdiction and extensiveness of the proposed work, of course, as it generally seems to be a discretionary call on the part of the building department. As mentioned, the laundry room remodel I'm doing involves modifying just a few feet of plumbing and electrical wiring. If I were doing anything structural or adding plumbing/electrical wiring for an entire room, etc., I can see the need for professional design services, but that's not at all the case here. I definitely agree consequences should be severe for anyone misrepresenting themselves as having licensed architectural or engineering credentials, especially since those sorts of stamped drawings carry legal weight, but no one's making that claim in my case.

I appreciate the discussion, though :). Here's hoping the building department's review goes smoothly and I'm able to get my building permit soon.
 

Attachments

  • photo of alcove from living room.jpg
    photo of alcove from living room.jpg
    745.8 KB · Views: 2
  • photo from outside laundry room looking in.jpg
    photo from outside laundry room looking in.jpg
    411.9 KB · Views: 2
  • photo inside laundry room.jpg
    photo inside laundry room.jpg
    394.7 KB · Views: 2
  • Existing floor plan.pdf
    438.2 KB · Views: 1
  • Proposed floor plan.pdf
    491.1 KB · Views: 0
I called the San Marcos Building Department on Thursday and was pleased to hear that my application had already been assigned to a permit tech. The person who answered my call transferred me to the permit tech and I was able to speak with them directly about the status of my application. The permit tech told me they'd spoken with the Building Official about my submittal and had confirmed that some additional information would be needed.

The permit tech was mostly concerned about code requirements associated with reframing the alcove space and asked whether I'd be able to obtain a structural assessment for the proposed reframing work. I assured them that the work wouldn't involve any structural changes and pointed out that the alcove doesn't extend all the way to the ceiling (see additional photo, attached). I mentioned that HVAC ductwork runs between the top of the alcove and ceiling elevation.

I further emphasized, as I did to the Building Official, that paying for professional design services was not something I'd be even remotely willing to entertain. I made clear that my plan would be to proceed without a permit if hiring a professional architect/engineer became required at any point in the process (not sure how risky disclosing that kind of intentionality was, but that's what I said to them).

In addition to providing additional structural details, the permit tech also mentioned I'd need to redo my site plan. To that end, the permit tech helpfully explained how I should be able to use Google Earth to draw an outline of my house and then prepare an adequate site plan based on that. The permit tech emailed me later that day with a complete list of additional submittal requirements, which I've excerpted below (full email is attached). They also sent me a handy checklist of site plan requirements (also attached).

Building Department's additional information requirements:

1716087380161.png


I followed up with the contractor to ask that he provide the requested "framing detail" information (i.e., "how the wall will be constructed, material, location and size of studs and connections from wall to floor and wall to ceiling"). He replied by texting me the below graph paper depiction of 2x4 studs placed 16" apart in the alcove area and connected to top/bottom plates consisting of stacked 2x4s. I'll be submitting this drawing as my response to the building department's "framing detail" request - hopefully it will suffice.

1716087392887.jpeg


I also texted the contractor to ask that he confirm "all applicable codes and references" for my laundry room remodel, per the building department's request in bullet #2 above. He texted back the following response:
Hi Eric, Sorry this is starting to get over my head, we would hire an architect when it comes to codes etc. and then follow plans.

Is it common for contractors to not actually have awareness of the specific codes they're building to? I'm a little concerned that this contractor was prepared to move forward with unpermitted work but, at the same time, couldn't tell me anything about the specific codes he'd supposedly be adhering to. That realization serves as yet another reason I'm glad to be getting the work permitted and inspected for code compliance by the City, and not just trusting the contractor's word that everything is being done to code.
 

Attachments

  • Alcove front view.jpg
    Alcove front view.jpg
    368.7 KB · Views: 0
  • SMBD submittal requirements email (16MAY24).pdf
    454.4 KB · Views: 0
  • SITE PLAN REQUIREMENTS 2022.pdf
    170 KB · Views: 0
You should be VERY VERY careful here. There are laws in all 50-states that regulate the practice of architecture and engineering and what is allowed and NOT allowed by State Law regarding the practice. Unlicensed individuals, that engage in the practice, can be fined to a degree that would make the fee you would pay an architect seem cheap by comparison. It is NOT up to the muni to regulate or allow/disallow such things - it soley relies upon anyone who decides to refer you to the State Board and if the board feels you violated the law, you have the option to pay a fine, or suffer prosecution by the State District attorney office.

So you need to be VERY careful on what you do, what you certify to, and what you submit. For example, there have been individuals who have been fines 5000.00 and more throughout the united states, that appear at county public hearings to oppose land use applications who try to offer technical information in opposition to the development. Sometimes its traffic, sometimes their opinion of land use, sometimes drainage. "IF" they go too far in their technical description, there are many, many cases of State Boards filing a complaint against the individual for unlicensed practice of engineering.

So to fully CYA; you should contact the State Board of technical professions and tell them what you are preparing to submit to the county (or city) and ask if it constitutes the practice of engineering or architecture. Else your design fee of 5K could look very small if a complaint is filed (and fyi...no statute of limitations on when a complaint can be filed against a person who engages in the practice without a license).

I think you’re going little too overboard here.
The bottom line is the design has to comply with the code requirements.
The question is whether the drawings need to be sealed by RDP (registered design professional).
That requirement should vary by jurisdictions, and the scope of work.

For example, I am an architect myself. But my license was useless for the residential alteration project (my own home) permit application. The architectural license was not applicable to this type of project. They would only recognize structural engineer or licensed contractor to be the RDP to seal the drawings. The county however allowed another pathway for permit: as an Owner as Contractor applicant. This path didn’t require the drawings to be sealed, but the drawings needed to be reviewed and the design must meet the code requirements.
This is where the “meeting the prescriptive design requirements” come into play. You don’t need to “engineer your design”, hence you don’t have to have engineer to seal your drawings as long as your design follows the prescriptive method outlined in the code.

So going back to the post owner’s question. It is absolutely possible to not needing the architect to do the drawings. In some case, like a small residential alteration project, the drawings don’t need to be sealed if you are the owner/resident of the house and you’re acting as a contractor (who hire tradesmen) to perform the work and take all the liability. Check with your jurisdiction.
 
I'm in Lake Wales, FL and we require signed & sealed plans from either an architect or an engineer. We will accept some drawings as long as they are detailed and have everything needed for approval.
 
The county however allowed another pathway for permit: as an Owner as Contractor applicant. This path didn’t require the drawings to be sealed, but the drawings needed to be reviewed and the design must meet the code requirements.

Thanks for sharing! I think that's essentially how things worked in my case. Before the City could issue the permit to me (yes, I received the permit this week!), they made me aware that I would be designated as "Owner-Builder" on the permit. I understand this means that all liability in terms of permit compliance falls on me, despite the fact that my contractor is performing all the work (I don't think my contractor would have taken on this liability, so this is fine). The building department also had me sign a Permit Declaration Form certifying that I'm exempt from CA's Contractor's License Law.

So I think Owner-Builder and the "Owner as Contractor" designation you mentioned are the same thing. I'm still not clear, though, what specifically it is about Owner-Builder that makes someone applying under that designation exempt from needing to submit sealed drawings. Based on what you're saying it sounds like contractors applying for permits (non-Owner-Builder) will always be required to provide RDP sealed drawings but I don't understand why that should be the case. If my contractor had applied for the permit in their name, they should have been able to get away with only submitting sketches (and not sealed drawings) just like I did, right?
 
Well, I spoke to the Building Official earlier today and, contrary to what the permit techs told me, he said that a sketch (that I can do myself; aka no architect required) should be totally sufficient for permitting purposes. He said getting a permit should only take 2-4 days.
That's excellent news, Eric. It sounds like you'll be approved in no time. I'm so glad that it worked out for you. Your local Building Official appears to be knowledgeable and helpful. That's worth its weight in gold.
 
Has anyone ever dealt with situations where the renovation work requiring permitting is relatively minor compared to what the building department is requiring in terms of plan drawings? I was recently quoted $17,500 for remodeling work that's mostly drywall/flooring work, with only a small amount of plumbing and electrical involved. The City is requiring that I obtain plans from a licensed architect, which I understand will cost in the ballpark of $5,000. You can see how that added cost blows up the total project cost and makes me concerned about whether/how I should proceed.
AdobeStock_213623242.jpeg


I basically have an alcove in my family room that was originally constructed to accommodate the deeper vacuum tube TVs, back when houses were built with that kind of entertainment center in mind. Our laundry room shares a wall with the alcove such that the alcove essentially takes up space in the laundry room and causes the laundry room to be smaller than it otherwise would be if that wall were flat and the alcove wasn't there. My project would involve "pushing out" the alcove to create a flat wall in the family room and add square footage to the laundry room. I could then mount a flat screen TV in the family room where the alcove used to be and add a utility sink in the laundry room where the new square footage is created. Permits would be required because of the minor plumbing and electrical work involved. For plumbing, I'd be extending hot/cold water lines and drainage to add the utility sink. For electrical, I'd be moving one electrical outlet and one switch by a few feet each.

I called the building department and asked a permit tech if a lower budget sketch (e.g., on graph paper) would be acceptable in lieu of paying thousands of dollars to have a licensed architect prepare plans, especially considering how relatively small my proposed plumbing/electrical changes would be. They took a moment to confer with their senior permit tech and responded that, no, that wouldn't be acceptable. They said that plans prepared by a licensed architect are always required no matter how minor the plumbing/electrical work.

The problem is that I'm much less inclined to do the project if the total cost inflates by ~30% on account of needing to enlist a licensed architect for what I consider to be relatively minor plumbing/electrical work. I don't want to complete unpermitted work but there's only so much money I'm willing to spend and I don't want to feel ripped off by what I consider to be excessive and unreasonable architectural design services.

Is it normal for building department staff to have zero flexibility when it comes to working with homeowners on plan drawing requirements? Would other jurisdictions always require that the homeowner spend thousands on a licensed architect no matter how minor the plumbing/electrical work?
Very interesting subject as some jurisdictions will have zero flexibility. Most jurisdictions that I have dealt with will accept hand drawings or sketches that do not require licensed anything. If it is not structural in nature, licensed and/or stamped engineered plans should not be needed as far as I am concerned.
 
If it is not structural in nature, licensed and/or stamped engineered plans should not be needed as far as I am concerned.

Based on my experience, I'd have to agree with this. As mentioned above, my building department's primary concern ultimately centered around possible structural requirements associated with the proposed framing work. I assured them that the walls being modified were not load bearing and cited Section 2308.5.4 (Nonload-bearing walls and partitions) as the applicable California Building Code reference.

In addition to letting me submit simple sketches in lieu of sealed drawings, the City was also highly flexible when it came to requiring that I cite all applicable sections of CA code. As mentioned, I researched and cited the "Nonload-bearing walls and partitions" section of CA code but otherwise had no idea what to cite for the plumbing and electrical requirements. I ended up simply writing "2022 CPC" and "2022 CEC" for the plumbing and electrical references, respectively, that I included on my plan submittals. I didn't receive any questions or input back from the City on that item, so I guess citing code generally is adequate in simple cases like mine?

To fully close the loop on this, I'm attaching the final permit and approved plans that the City issued to me. I've already shared the permit with the contractor, who said they're going to take point from here coordinating inspections.

Final thought: The process took a bit of elbow grease but I found the San Marcos Building Department to be extremely easy to work with in the end. I'm really glad I pushed back on the information I originally received from the contractor and building department and am now getting my laundry room remodel done right.
 

Attachments

  • B24-00740 PERMIT.pdf
    448.5 KB · Views: 1
  • B24-00740 APPROVED PLANS AND DETAILS - REVISED.pdf
    5.7 MB · Views: 0
Back
Top