Plan Check Guidelines and Requirements

Plan Check Guidelines & Requirements

The Public Works Department, Engineering and Street Services Division provides plan check services for the following types of private projects and developments where work is proposed on a City right of way:

  • Single-family residential
  • Multi-family residential
  • Commercial/industrial
  • Offsite improvements, as required by City Engineering as part of a private project or development as codified in Santa Monica Municipal Code (SMMC) 7.04.800.

Plan Check Checklists

The following plan check checklists are provided to assist applicants with being successful in the Public Works Engineering plan check process. For every project submitted to the City, the applicant is required to complete the appropriate checklist for their specific project type and upload the completed checklist to the electronic plan review system (ProjectDox) along with the Building and Safety submittal. For details on requirements for specific project types, click the links to the checklists below:

Public Works Construction Notes - Single Family Dwelling

Public Works Construction Notes - Multi Family, Mixed Used, Commercial Development

Standard Tree Protection Zone Guidelines - Designing for Mandatory Tree Protection During Construction 

Urban Runoff Mitigation

Pursuant to Santa Monica Municipal Code (SMMC) Section 7.10, onsite runoff for redevelopment meeting certain thresholds must be mitigated. Mitigation can be achieved by capturing all onsite runoff from impervious areas via various Low Impact Development (LID) Best Management Practices (BMPs) and/or treat and re-use systems, paying an in-lieu fee for runoff not captured onsite, or a combination of both. Click Here , to comply with Urban Runoff Requirements..

Water Meter Sizing Questionnaire

Single family residential projects that add or modify plumbing fixtures are required to submit a completed Water Meter Sizing Questionnaire as part of their plan check submittal. The purpose of the questionnaire is to serve as guidance to determine the appropriate water meter service connection for single family residential projects. Your Public Works plan checker will use the data provided on this form to prescribe a minimum water meter service connection in accordance with the 2019 California Plumbing Code. The questionnaire is not a substitute for the recommendations of an appropriately licensed professional. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that water meter services are sized appropriately to the development. The City assumes no responsibility or liability for sizing water meter services.

Undergrounding of Overhead Utilities

Utility undergrounding greatly improves the aesthetics of the City of Santa Monica and reduces the severity of community impacts, such as fires, during hazardous weather conditions. The City supports the installation of underground utilities and the relocation of overhead utilities underground. The City’s underground utility requirements are codified at Santa Monica Municipal Code (SMMC) 7.04.820.


Click the links below for more information regarding the City's underground utility requirements.

Tieback License Agreements

Private development projects that propose tieback anchor systems and other foundation supports, such as soldier piles, in the public right-of-way, must enter into a Tieback License Agreement with the City. The tieback agreement must be executed and recorded with the Los Angeles County Recorder prior to issuance of a Building Permit for the subject property. Please allow 2-3 months for this process.


Click the links below to access the Tieback License Agreement application and the City's standard Tieback License Agreement.

Engineered Offsite Improvement Plans

Specific offsite improvement requirements are governed by Santa Monica Municipal Code (SMMC) Section 7.04.800 and are the sole responsibility of the private developer or owner as required and applicable by the private project development type through commentary by City Engineering during the building permit process (BLD permit) or as prescribed by specific entitlement approvals such as Development Agreements.  Applicable private project development types will require specific offsite improvements as deemed necessary by City Engineering. Offsite improvement plans, reports, etc. shall be submitted directly to the applicable City Engineering Plan Checker assigned to the BLD permit review during the BLD permit review period.

Offsite improvement plans must be prepared on City title block by a project engineer, hired by the developer or owner, registered in the State of California, and meet all requirements stated in the City's "Offsite Improvement Checklist". Typical engineered offsite improvements include, but not limited to, City utility (including water and sewer), street (including sidewalk, curb and gutter and street trees), alley, and *streetlighting improvements. The responsibilities of the project engineer shall include, but not be limited to the following: 

  • Preparation of required engineering design reports and plans for offsite improvements. 
  • Certify accuracy of vertical and horizontal alignments and dimensioned in accordance with available survey and field data.  
  • Delivery of reproducible “as-built” plans for offsite improvements along with an electronic copy for City records.  

An offsite permit shall be required prior to any construction as required by the Code within the public right-of-way. A permit will be issued subject to the following requirements:

  • Review and acceptance of engineering design reports and plans for offsite improvements unless plan requirements have been waived by the City Engineer.  
  • Payment of review and inspection fees for all offsite improvements located within the public right-of-way, in accordance with a fee schedule to be adopted by the City Council.  

*For streetlighting improvements associated with Engineered Offsite Improvement Plans, see "Streetlighting Design Standards & Guidelines" in section below for information and requirements.


Streetlighting Design Standards & Guidelines

Streetlight installation may be required as part of a new private development project per Santa Monica Municipal Code (SMMC) Section 7.04.800 and permitted through a street offsite permit or a City funded Capital Improvement Project (CIP). New or relocated streetlights within City right-of-way (ROW) limits are required to include light emitting diode (LED) luminaires and shall be constructed per City standards, applicable design plans, and field inspected prior to energizing and acceptance. All new streetlight installations in the City ROW shall be City owned, maintained and fully metered as governed by Southern California Edison (SCE) LS-3 requirements and are reserved for streetlight uses and billing only. Streetlight installation costs on all new private development projects (including design & construction costs) shall be paid by the project applicant (i.e. owner, developer, etc.).


The purpose of the City of Santa Monica Standards and Guidelines package is to establish guidelines and practices to be followed by engineers in designing street lighting systems.  


Benefits of this package include providing engineers with direction resulting in increased productivity by streamlining the design process, and increased efficiency by establishing a centralized, up-to-date reference source for current standards and procedures. The overall quality in street lighting designs will be enhanced by requiring engineers to adhere to the City’s most current design and construction policies. 


Engineering & Streets engineers are authorized by the City Engineer to approve design recommendations and/or final street lighting construction plans upon full implementation of the City of Santa Monica Standards and Guidelines package.  


Real Estate Transfer Disclosure 

 Download the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure here.. Complete the form and follow the instructions on the form.

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