Plan Check

Plan Check is the City of Santa Monica’s process of reviewing and approving all drawings, and specifications for improvements to verify compliance with building, zoning, and fire codes. The plan check process is complementary to the permit process and may include over-the-counter plan check for certain projects. Complex projects are recommended to also complete a Pre-submittal Review.

Over the Counter Plan Check Application

Electronic Plan Review Plan Check Application


New Water Neutrality Ordinance

The new Water Neutrality Ordinance has gone into effect as of July 1, 2017.  This ordinance caps water use for new developments by limiting a project to the historical use for its individual parcel. A stakeholder committee of residents, building industry professionals, non-profits, manufacturers, and local governments created the proposed ordinance to meet City Council's directive. This ordinance is one strategy to achieve the City's goal for water self-sufficiency by 2020.

Only new developments (residential and commercial) will need to comply with this ordinance.  New developments, in this case, are defined as new buildings with plumbing fixtures, existing buildings that demolish 50% or more of the exterior walls/structural support, and new or enlarged pools, spas, ponds, and water features.  Complying with the Water Neutrality Ordinance will require an additional plan review by Office of Sustainability and the Environment (OSE) staff to verify the calculated water demand of each structure.  Water demand calculations must be completed by the applicant and included with any plan check submittal for new developments (as defined above).

Please visit the OSE's Water Neutrality page for additional information about Water Neutrality requirements and to utilize the City's various water demand calculators.


Expedited Solar Photovoltaic Permitting (10 kW or Less in One and Two Family Dwellings) 

Application, Checklist, and Requirements for Expedited Solar Permitting

Structural Criteria for Residential Rooftop Solar Energy Installations

Solar PV Standard Plan - Simplified Central/String Inverter Systems for One- and Two-Family Dwellings

Solar PV Standard Plan - Simplified Microinverter and ACM Systems for One- and Two-Family Dwellings

Inspection Guide for PV Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings


Expedited Permitting for Electric Service Equipment (EV Charger)

Expedited Permitting for Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EV Charger)


Over the Counter Plan Check (OTC)

Some projects qualify for over the counter services. Turnaround time for the initial plan check is 0-3* days and same day for resubmittals. Paper plans accompanied with CD are acceptable at the Public Counter. Projects that qualify for over the counter plan check include:

  • Small Interior residential remodels
  • Office TI's less than 2,500 sq ft with no structural & minor M/P/E.
  • Single Family Residential room additions nonstructural on flat land, and single story less than 500 sq ft
  • Patios
  • Signs
  • Decks with minimum structural requirements
  • Pool or Spa
  • Fence or retaining wall*
  • Window or door replacements*
  • Reroofing with concrete tile*
  • Any other projects and plan reviews as determined by Plan Check Supervisor

* Time based on project acceptance once plans include all minimum requirements, including required project approvals such as Architectural Review Board approval.


Formal Plan Check

Depending on the type of project the timeline for project turnaround varies. All applications for plan check must include a completed Plan Check Questionnaire. The Questionnaire will also help determine which forms and applications are necessary for a complete submittal. Information regarding Plan Check Documents has been published online to assist applicants in preparing a complete submission.

Documents must be submitted electronically through the Electronic Plan Review system.