Digital Submittal Requirements

Pla​n Creation Checklist

Allowed Sheet Sizes (Consistent throughout the plan set):

​Size Building​ Planning​ LDE​ Surveyor​ Notes​
​8.5 x 11


Corner Records Only​
11 x 17​


​Solar Permits,
Prefab Structures
​18 x 24


​18 x 26


​Maps for Recording Only
24 x 36​




30 x 42​


36 x 48​



Mandatory Submittal Requirements:

  • File Type: 
    • PDF
  • Naming: 
  • Color Depth: 
    • Grey-Scale (8-bit)
  • Maximum File Size: 
    • 100 MBs
  • Layers: 
    • No layers; Drawings must be flattened
  • Resolution: 
    • 300 dots per inch, Minimum
  • File Compression: 
    • Yes
  • Protected or Locked Files: 
    • No
  • Zip File: 
    • No
  • Grouping: 
    • Multiple Sheets - Set of Drawings must be combined into a single document. If file size exceeds 100 MB, drawing set can be broken down into volumes by discipline including Architectural, Structural, MEP, etc.
  • Orientation: 
    • Landscape. 

Landscape views of a building blueprint

 Correct (Landscape)

Portrait view of a building blueprint


Incorrect (Portrait)

  • View: 

    • Zoomed to Full View
  • Alignment: 
    • Consistent through discipline
  • Sheet Count: 
    • Sheet Index on cover sheet. Sheet count must match the submitted plan set.
  • Bookmarks, Digital: 
    • Yes – Must indicate sheet number (e.g. S1.0) and sheet name (e.g. FOUNDATION PLAN)​
  • ​Title Block: All sheets Must include:
    • ​Project title and address (e.g. SMITH RESIDENCE – 1234 STREET, City, CA 95XXX)  
    • Unique sheet number (e.g. S1.0) 
    • Unique sheet name (e.g. FOUNDATION PLAN) 
    • Revision number 
    • Revision date
  • ​Graphical Scale: 
    • Yes (For plans only) unless noted as “Not to Scale”
  • Minimum Scale: 
    • ¼” = 1’-0” for building plans, elevations, and sections; 
    • ​¾” = 1’-0” for building details and sections ​
  •  Minimum Font Size:
    • 10 pt. or 1/10” in height​
  • Embedded Fonts:
    • Not acceptable
  • Resubmittals:
    • Plans must be in the same order as previous submittals. If sheets are removed or added, sheet orders and previous sheet numbers must not be changed​
  • County Stamp Space:
Measurement Plans



  • ​ Alignment:
    • Grid lines should line up between sheets
  • PDF Format:
    • Vector Based converted from AutoCAD, Word, etc.​
  •  Font Style:
    • Open Type
  • ​Hatch Pattern Fills:
    • Looser pattern.​

A red frame box filled with red dots

 Correct Hatch Fill

A red frame box packed with mini red dots

Hatch Fill Too Dense

Report and Calculation Creation Checklist

  • Allowed Sheet Size (Consistent throughout the set)
​Size Building​ Planning​ LDE​ Surveyor​ Notes​
​8.5 x 11





​11 x 17






  • ​​ File Type:
    • PDF​
  • File Naming:
  • Table of Contents:
    • Key sections must be identified in Table of Contents
  • Page Number:
    • All pages must be numbered
  • Layers:
    • No layers. Sheets must be flattened
  • Resolution:
    • 300 dots per inch, Minimum
  • Maximum File Size:
    • 100 MB
  • File Compression:
    • Yes
  • Protected or Locked Files:
    • No
  • Zip Files:
    • No
  • Grouping:
    • Multiple Sheets
  • Orientation:
    • Portrait
  • Bookmarks, Electronic:
    • Yes. Must be, at a minimum, consistent with Table of Contents
  • Alignment:
    • Consistent through disciplines
  • Minimum Font Size:
    • 10 pt. for electronically prepared files or 1/10” in height.
  • Font Style:
    • Open Type for electronically prepared files
  • Signed and Stamped:
    • Cover page only (Engineer calculations, letters, and reports). Digital signature is not allowed


  • ​PDF Format:
    • Vector Based converted from AutoCAD, Word, etc.

      The State of California has authorized the preparation of plans, calculations, reports, etc., to licensed architects, engineers, and other design professionals licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs. These professionals have specific titles that enable them to be responsible for the preparation of documents associated with structures and other public works. Unlicensed individuals may prepare plans if the project is qualified to be constructed per California Residential Code. All documents submitted for review are considered in the preparer’s “responsible charge”. Santa Clara County cannot, and will not, modify the submittal package to enable review and will return to the applicant if the submittal does not meet our requirements.

      Naming files to properly describe the contents of the file document will help reviewers identify more quickly which files they need to review. Comments from reviewers will be sorted by documents and by discipline. Revised file documents will need to be uploaded by applicants and improper or inconsistent naming of files will create delays in review of your application. Applications with files that are not named correctly will be rejected. ​

      Santa Clara County is trying to review documents submitted in an effective and efficient manner.  Common plan preparation procedures require the reviewer to jump around the plan set to find related information from notes shown on the plan.  Going directly to the specific sheets noted is more efficient for the reviewer to get to the needed information instead of scrolling through individual plan sheets.  The responsibility to prepare the bookmarks in the digital document lies with the design professional who has prepared the plan set. ​

      Santa Clara County is responsible for maintaining records of plans and providing the public with access to them.  Files kept in our electronic database must be compatible with a wide range of computer software for storage, viewing, and printing.  In addition, the file sizes must be manageable for transfer and for use by the public and County staff.  The PDF standard is constantly evolving, and Santa Clara County will continue to evaluate these standards as necessary.​​

      Yes, assuming they meet the size limitation requirement of no more than 100 MB total.  Vector-based PDF files are typically much larger than raster-based files.  However, the County prefers vector-based files given the ability to scale these files.​

      There are numerous PDF tools freely available on the Internet, which can be used to merge, rotate, and rearrange PDF files.​

      The industry standard software for working with PDF files is Adobe Acrobat; however, there are numerous PDF tools freely available on the Internet. 

      Step 1: Save the vector-based PDF files as raster images (TIF or PNG). The format of the raster images is important (300 ppi, monochrome).  We recommend TIF files with LZW compression. 

      Step 2: Convert the raster images back to compressed PDF files. 

      Step 3: Merge the individual PDF files into a single multi-sheet PDF file. ​

      Properly formatted and compressed raster PDF files should not exceed 1MB per sheet.  If your files are larger, you may have made one of the following errors: 


      • ​Plans should be saved as 8-bit (grayscale) or 1-bit (monochrome).  Saving the plans as 24-bit (full-color) raster files will drastically increase the file size.  Even if the images contain only black and white objects, 24-bit files still contain the shade and color data.
      • Uncompressed files are much larger than compressed files.  Construction plans contain mostly white space.  The data required to store this white space can be significantly reduced.  When creating or saving PDF files, remember to specify “compressed.”
      • Try minimizing the number of different fonts used in the document preparation and changing your fonts to an Open Type Font.  Recent articles indicate that the use of True Type fonts could lead to file sizes that are significantly larger.
      • If necessary, please break up files into volumes by discipline. (Architectural, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, etc.)


      Transparent raster images require considerable resources to display. Even though the source image is not transparent, your CAD software may be plotting it with transparency (white pixels plotted as see-thru).  Be sure to set image transparency “off” before plotting.


      In order to conserve county resources, our review software is web based, with no work saved on County owned and operated servers.  The embedding of the fonts in drawings requires the review software to continually get information from the web server to assure proper rendering.  This continuous contact has shown unacceptably slow review times.  The font unembedding reduces the file size and increases system response times.​


          Our dedicated Permit Center Staff have prepared numerous application checklists​ to assist in submitting the right information on the first submittal.

          In order to assure submittal of all documents necessary for efficient County review, the Department would prefer that all documents be submitted through the Permit Center counter on a thumb drive.  Your Permit Center Professional will review your application and assure that all review items needed are in the submittal package.

          On-line permit applications are limited maintenance (re-wire, re-roof, etc.) type permits only.  Complex Land Use, Grading, Drainage, and Building permit applications will be included in the future for submittal through the Insite Public Portal (IPP).

          Yes. Just create an account through the Insite Public Portal (IPP) at

          Once the user login account is created, specific information required during the registration process is sent to Permit Center Staff.  After receiving the above information, the staff member will link the online user account to the appropriate permit record to be visible on the public portal.  These actions are required to provide digital security and permissions to the user.  Once these mandatory actions are completed, the registered users should be able to efficiently perform tasks such as online payment, documents submission, view project status, inspections scheduling, etc.

          In the Planning Office, consistent with the State Permit Streamlining Act, a completeness determination needs to be made within 30 days of the application acceptance date.  If the application has been deemed complete, Planning Staff have other deadlines associated with State and Local Ordinances. 

          In the Development Services Office, depending on workload, comments are expected within 4 to 6 working weeks for first submittals, 2 working weeks for resubmittals and revisions to approved permits.  These timeframes are guidelines only and based upon our best estimates of regular workflow.  Individual review times may vary due to the complexity of the individual project and complexity of the department’s workload.  

          Your project is important to us.  Our highest priority is to maintain public health and safety during and after construction.  Staff works diligently to get all reviews completed efficiently and effectively.  Though the dates shown in the public portal have been exceeded, these dates also provide a priority for our reviewers to get all review work completed in a complex review environment.  Your patience is appreciated.

          It is important that you provide a valid e-mail address you review regularly, and a current phone number on your contact information.  Once the review is completed, an e-mail correspondence will be sent to both you and your design consultants.  This message will inform you to review the drawings on the IPP and will provide a list of other comments from the supplementary reviewers.  You will be allowed to download copies of the marked drawings and comment sheets.

          The Planning Office does not accept any resubmittal of materials through the IPP.  The Office would prefer that all documents associated with resubmittals be submitted through the front counter on a USB thumb drive. 

          The Development Services Office does accept resubmittals through the IPP, but please be aware that resubmittal through the IPP by itself does not assign the target date for the reviewers.  Staff has three days to review what has been submitted to assure that all requested information is in the resubmittal package.  Incomplete resubmittals will not be reviewed until all requested information is submitted. ​

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