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Building Permits, Plan Check, and Inspections FAQs

FAQs for Rebuilding After the Sonoma Complex Fires »

Permits and Plancheck


When is a building permit not required?


See When Is a Building Permit Not Required? – BPC-005 for a comprehensive explanation including a video that discusses some of the more popular projects that do not require a Building permit.


How long is the wait for a plan check to be performed?


Building Plan Check response times vary depending on the type of project and current demand. View the Building with Plan Check Time to Permit Issuance page for the most recent estimate.


Can I receive a refund of my building plan check or building permit fees if I cancel or withdraw the project?

Answer Refunds are regulated by the California Building Code (CBC) which reads:

"Under Section 107.6, CBC, the building official may authorize refunding of not more than 80 percent of the plan review fee paid when an application is withdrawn or canceled before any plan reviewing is done. The building official may authorize refunding of not more than 80 percent of the permit fee paid when no work has been done under the permit.

There shall be no refunding of any fee paid except on written application filed by the original permittee not later than 180 days after the date of fee payment."


I've applied for a building permit, submitted my plans and paid my plan check fees. Will I have to pay any additional fees?


Yes. When your plans have been checked for compliance with all appropriate building codes and regulations, additional fees will be due, depending on the type and scope of the project.
You must also obtain all necessary clearances before your permit can be issued. All clearances needed should be identified on the "Building Permit Application Checklist" that was given to you when you submitted your application.


My building permit has been issued. I was given the permit, a job card and a set of plans. What do I do now?


You can now begin construction. Your approved plans, job card and any other documents your received must be posted on the job site in an easily visible location. The job card will be used by the inspector to record progress on the required inspections. The set of plans will be used to verify that all construction is in compliance with the approved plans. The job card and plans must be kept on-site and available for the inspector's use.

Question How long is my building permit valid?

Building permits issued on or after July 1, 1999 are valid for 3 years from the date of issuance and can not be extended. Building permits issued before this date are valid for 180 days. An inspection extends the permit life for an additional 180 days. If a permit expires, a new permit and applicable fees will be required. A plan check may also be required.


Question I've been told my project requires a site review. When will this occur?

The site review inspector will visit your site within 5 to 10 working days of the receipt of your plans and payment for the site review fee. Plans must meet Permit Sonoma requirements. The site address must be posted at the road and be clearly visible from both directions. The corners of the proposed building site must be marked with stakes before inspection can occur.


Will I receive a phone call from the site review or building inspector before my inspection?

Answer The inspector will not contact you prior to your inspection.

How does the building inspector know when to come to my project for the required inspections?


Inspections, other than site review, can be scheduled via mobile app, online, or phone:

Inspection Scheduling Information


I've scheduled an inspection through the automated telephone scheduling system. What time will the inspector come to my project?


Inspections are set for early morning, mid-day, or afternoon. To check on the inspector's estimated arrival time you can call the automated telephone scheduling system on the day of the scheduled inspection at (707) 565-3551. Please have the address and the permit number of the project ready when you call. You will receive faster service if you have the inspection area number that is located in the lower right corner of the front of your permit.


As an alternative, you can also check via mobile app or online.


The entrance to my property is secured by a gate with a coded lock. How will I get this information to the inspector?

Answer You can do one of the following:
  • Write the code on the original building permit application before it is issued.

  • After the permit has been issued, call (707) 565-1679 during regular phone hours. Give the office assistant the address of your project and they will transfer you to your inspector's voicemail. Leave the code on the inspector's voice mail.

Question The building inspector asked me for a CF-6R form and a IC-1 form. Where can I get them? What are they?

These forms are required by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and are available on the CEC website. Both forms must be posted at the building site. A copy of each must also be given to the building inspector at the final inspection.


The CF-6R form is an installation certificate that is completed by contractors who install plumbing, mechanical and fenestration products and systems.


The IC-1 form is an insulation certificate that is completed by contractors who install building insulation.

Although every effort is made to provide complete and accurate information on this website, users are advised to contact appropriate Permit Sonoma staff before making project decisions. This may involve contacting more than one section within Permit Sonoma(e.g. Building, Plan Check, Zoning, Well & Septic, etc.) since each section implements specific codes or ordinances which may affect your project.
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Permit and Resource Management Department County of Sonoma