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Overview of the Inspection Process

Now that you have your Building Permit you can start construction. Here are some important things to know to avoid any problems.

The Following are the Important Papers You Received

  •  The approved (red stamped) COPY of your building plans and addendum materials, to include any approved supplemental documents.
  • Your BUILDING PERMIT. Read the information on the back of it, which includes allowed workdays and hours and have the permit visible at the site for all inspectors.
  • A permit for SEWER CONNECTION or SEPTIC SYSTEM, if applicable.

Keep your important papers in a dry place at the job site.

Timing of Inspections - Keep Your Permit Valid

To keep your building permit valid, you must commence work and have your first inspection within one year of the permit issuance date. After that, you must make progress toward completion by an approved or partially approved inspection, and call for inspections not more than six months apart. The required approved inspections prevent the permit from expiring.

What is NOT "Commencing Work"?

You may commence work within one year of the permit’s issuance date. The following does not constitute "Commencing Work".

  • Grading a building pad or driveway (may require a separate grading permit)
  • Installing a temporary power pole
  • Demolishing a structure (Requires a demolition permit)
  • Drilling a well (Requires a separate well permit from Environmental Health, and possibly a review by the Environmental Coordinator)
  • Installing a septic system (Requires an individual sewage-disposal permit from Environmental Health, which is issued with your building permit)

Scheduling Building Inspections

Inspections shall be scheduled by 3:00pm, at least one Santa Cruz County Government business day prior to the requested inspection date using the following link: Schedule a Building Inspection (Holidays & weekends are excluded for scheduling next day requests.)

Inspection requests may be scheduled for all inspection districts Monday through Friday. Friday inspections are limited to AM only and as noted below.

Note: The following types of inspections shall not be scheduled for Fridays: final inspections or complex inspections. When uncertain about whether your inspection may be scheduled for a Friday, email the Supervising Building Inspector prior to scheduling.

To cancel inspection requests contact the Supervising Building Inspector prior to the requested inspection date.

Once you have completed the online inspection request form, a confirmation email will be sent indicating your inspection request has been received and scheduled. If you do not receive a confirmation, the form was not completed correctly.

Due to the high volume of inspections and the uncertain length of each inspection, we do not accept time preferences for inspections. Your inspector will call the contact numbers provided on the morning of the requested inspection between 8:00 and 9:00am to verify the inspection time frame, typically a two-to-three hour window. Do not call before 9:00am the day of the inspection.

Reinspection Fees may be charged if:

  • The work is not complete at the time of inspection.
  • No representative of the work or agent of the owner is present for the inspection.
  • The site is not ready for inspection (ladders not set up, equipment not made ready to inspect, work not in an inspection-ready state).
  • Previous corrections requested by the inspector have not been made.
  • The building permit is not available on the site.
  • The "approved" plans and associated documents are not available on the site.
  • Access to the site or structure is not provided.
  • Construction is different from what is shown on the plans. If so, revised plans may be required for review and approval.
  • The inspection is cancelled AFTER 9:00 AM the date of the scheduled inspection.

No further inspections will be made until the reinspection fees has been paid.

Extending Your Permit

If one year goes by without an inspection from the date of permit issuance, or 6 months from the date of the last approved inspection, you will need to apply and pay for a permit extension. Use the following link for a permit extension form: Building Permit Extension Form.

Qualifying for a Final Inspection

Residential Projects:

Complete all elements of the approved plans and permit conditions, to include all permit agency hold requirements, which are stated on the bottom of the permit, prior to the completion of your permit. Final building inspections may be scheduled when ready.

For new residential construction, occupancy will not be allowed and permanent gas and/or electrical connections will not be approved, until all the conditions for your permit required by department “holds” have been met and all final building inspection requirements have been completed. The agency "holds" are noted on your building permit, along with the name and telephone number of the appropriate staff contact information.

The final inspection permit signoff for residential additions and remodels will not be completed until all conditions of other department holds have been met, and their department holds on your building permit have been cleared in the Community Development & Infrastructure’s system. When you have completed your permits department hold requirements, call the appropriate department to arrange inspections or to provide required documentation for completion. When hold conditions are completed, each department will clear their agency hold. Once you’ve completed all your permit department agency hold conditions and all final building inspections, contact your building inspector to have the permit completed and closed.

Commercial Projects:

Complete all elements of the approved plans and permit conditions prior to scheduling final inspections. Commercial projects may require utilities released for required energy compliance testing prior to final inspections. These systems shall be inspected for completion prior to releasing any utility. When you have met all the permit requirements, call for a final inspection.

For all new commercial projects, occupancy will not be allowed until all the permit elements and department agency “hold” conditions are completed. These "holds" are noted on your building permit, along with the name and telephone number of the appropriate department staff.

The final inspection permit signoff for commercial additions and remodels will not be completed until all conditions of other department holds have been met and the department holds on your building permit have been cleared in the Planning Department’s system. After you have completed the department hold’s conditions, call the appropriate department to complete and clear their agency hold. Once you’ve completed all of the permit department agency hold’s conditions, contact your building inspector to have the permit completed and closed, and a Certificate of Occupancy will be produced and mailed to the building owner of record.

Electric and Gas Utility Meter Approval

After inspection and approval, Building Inspection staff will contact PG&E to approve meter releases for connection. It is your responsibility to then call PG&E and make an appointment for them to install the utility meters. Check your PG&E account information for your account representative contact information.

For Further Information

This brochure describes the process for implementing building permits and inspections. For specific County ordinance requirements, see the Santa Cruz County Code, Chapters 12.01 and 12.10 in the following link: Santa Cruz County Code and the referenced State Codes. If you have questions about meeting building inspection requirements, you may find your building Inspector listed using the following contact information under the “Building” section using the following link: Contact Information

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