Plan Review Guidelines

Plan Review Turnaround - Commercial

Simple: 2 - 5 days

Average: 30 - 90 days

Complex: 180 - 365 days

Time frames are based on averages and depend on the completeness of the applications, staffing levels, and project complexity. Note: The Building Division is closed Friday through Sunday and on holidays; please plan accordingly.

Plan Formatting Requirements

Clearly indicate location, nature, and extent of the work proposed. Show in detail that it will conform to the provisions of the code and relevant laws.

Identify all projects by street address or APN on the plans.

All plan sheets must be signed with a name and valid signature of the responsible party. A state license or registration is required as applicable by state regulation.

Commercial plans must be stamped by a licensed architect or engineer.

Organize plans sheets according to generally accepted practice. With the except for specifications or reports, all sheets must be uniformly sized to a minimum of 11 x 17 inches, and scaled.

Include Title Sheet information on each plan sheet Title block: Address, Contact information, Sheet number, Project scope, Designer signature.


Proposals to provide alternate means of complying with CBC requirements must be made in writing to the Building Official. Use City of Petaluma exception form.

Manufacturer’s specification sheets are acceptable where the same items are specified by brand and model number on the plans or in a specification manual. Specifications in structural or energy calculations but not on the plans or spec manual are not acceptable.

If special inspection or fabricator’s certificate of compliance is required for any work by the CBC 1705, then such compliance shall be specifically called for on the plans in a prominent place.

Re-Submittal Requirements

Once reviewed, your plan will be returned to you with comments from each reviewing department/division, e.g., Building, Fire Prevention, Environmental Services, etc.

Contact each department individually for clarification on their comments.

Do not resubmit plans until you can address all comment items completely. Partial re-submittals are not accepted.

Each comment must be addressed individually and completely in a response letter and on the plans.

  • Clearly identify plan changes with revision cloud and delta number.
  • Provide the plans examiner with the required information on the plans or specifications.
  • Remove standard details or general notes that are not applicable to the project.

Pen or pencil corrections are not acceptable. Provide clean, newly revised plans.

Include any marked-up plans that were returned to you. All resubmittals will be made to the Building Division.


photo of person filling out a form

Invest the time at the beginning of the project to understand our requirements and formatting standards. That way, you'll avoid surprises and get through the plan review process in one or two rounds, instead of multiple rounds.

by Doug Hughes, Chief Building Official

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