Submitting Building Plans

By: Vicki Connell


You finally have your dreams and desires on paper, and after countless hours thinking and re-thinking your design, you are ready to submit your building plans to the county or city.


This can be exciting and frustrating. At this point, it is out of your control and in the hands of the building department, and the wait begins.


But let’s back up and put together a check list of items to scan through your plans before submittal.


  1. Don’t assume your subcontractor will know what you want. By this I mean, if you don’t want something exactly as it appears on plans, don’t assume they will check with you before beginning. Most bids you receive will be based off exactly as it shows on the plans unless you’ve had a clear conversation with the subcontractor to state otherwise. If you have 25 can lights in your plans, your electrician will account for exactly 25 can lights.

  2. It's all in the details. This goes along with the above. Put as many details in the plans as you can so there are no questions. Anything not in the plans, that you want to change during the build will likely be a change order and come out of your pocket. The more details in the plans, the less you have to worry about communicating changes.

  3. Make sure to account for all your gas appliances. If you are using natural gas, make sure all the appliances you want gas are listed as such, including a gas furnace or BBQ pit. If you forget an appliance and it comes up during the build, not only will you have a change order but you may have to revise plans and get city approval which could slow progress for a few days.

  4. Do some research on permit fees, review fees and impact fees. Most building agencies have at least an engineering department and a building department that could potentially have separate fees for review. If you have a grading and drainage plan that is submitted to an engineering department, they will likely have to sign off before you can obtain your building permit. Each city or county will have a checklist of items needed for submittal. These can include other permits and calculations.

  5. Make sure you have all the items needed before going to the city or county office for permitting. There is a clerk that will do an over the counter acceptance verifying all the items. If something is missing, you likely will need to come back. It can be very frustrating to have wasted a trip.

  6. Find out what the review period is. Make a note of it and don’t be afraid to check in if that date passes. Once your plans are reviewed, it is likely there will need to be some corrections or additional details needed and they will go back to the architect. Work closely with the architect’s timeline to get them back in to the city or county.

While the plans are being reviewed and you are waiting for your permit, start lining up your first few subcontractors. Working closely with your architect and the city will give you a good idea when you should receive your permit. Most subcontractors are a few weeks out so it is best to give them as much lead time as you can.


Know what to do when you have your permit. You will likely need to get a copy to your bank and your HOA if you have one. Make sure you have it posted at the job site at all times. Make a copy for your records as well. Then, find a nice hard hat, because your are about to settle into your role.


If you are considering building a custom home, give our office call

Castle Rock Homes (623) 935-5004

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