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Digital Plan Room April 2023 Webinar Questions and Answers

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Digital Plan Room questions and answers that occurred during the April 2023 training webinar.

Q:   Is it possible to upload more than once? It seems that when I went back to add additional documents, I was unable.

A:   Yes, you can upload Plans if the review cycle is still active. The cycle is closed once your application is accepted. At that point you need to request that the cycle be reopened to upload Plans. Other document types (Not Plans) can be uploaded at any time. This may not have worked correctly in the past, but that has been corrected

Q:   Is there a size limit to each document and/or accumulative limit of all documents?

A:   The size limit is 300 MB per upload. If you have multiple documents that collectively exceed this limit. simply separate your uploads to stay within the limit.

Q:   Will we submit site plans and site-specific documents separate from spec sheets?

A:   For permits that require a complete set of Construction Plans, the site plan must be included and bundled in those plans. For permits that only require Site Plans, those will be uploaded individually.

Q:   Is there a limitation on characters in the file name when uploading?

A:   100 Characters. Also, try to avoid special characters in your file names

Q:   Will we get email notifications of correction notices when the plans go to the next step or will we have to login to see this?

A:   There will be email notifications along the way with each discipline review.

Q:   Will you be standardizing the “document type” choices and the “descriptions”?

A:   We will be updating our submittal requirements and will add this to our review. Thanks for the suggestion.

Q:   Will there be a check list available, so we know what information and documents are required prior to starting the submittal?

A:   Yes. This can be complicated, though. There are many cases where documents are conditionally required based on the scope of work. We will do our best to outline all of this in our updated Submittal Requirements.

Q:   Does the software require that every grading permit application have a standalone drainage report? In the past grading projects with very limited drainage information has been allowable to show on the plans, or in some cases omitted completely.

A:   Every grading permit application does require a separate drainage report. If the grading is minimal and no drainage improvements are proposed, a drainage report is still required but can be a simple narrative explaining why there are no drainage impacts from the proposed scope of work.

Q:   What is the best way for the sheet numbers to be identified by the automated process?


  • Use a Table of Contents (bookmarks) whenever possible, especially if using numeric-only sheet numbers.
  • Use the following format – [SHEET NUMBER] [SHEET TITLE]
  • If not using a Table of Contents, using an alpha-numeric sheet numbering pattern will provide better accuracy in in identifying the sheet number.
  • Do not change sheet numbers for resubmittals.

Q:   Can you discuss how to eliminate or remove sheets from a previously submitted plan set? Say a portion of the project has been omitted.

A:   The easiest way would be to leave those sheets in place but make them blank or put an X so the reviewers know those are to be removed. The reviewers can discard those sheets if there’s anything that needs to be removed as part of the process. Also, resubmittals allow the customer to delete the entire plan set and add an updated plan set.

Q:   Sometimes additional sheets require modification based on comments to other sheets. Will additional sheets be allowed to be submitted even if they are not marked up by the plan checker?

A:   Yes, customers are not restricted to only resubmitting sheets that were marked up. Additional sheets can be modified that may not have comments associated with them.

Q:   What if additional sheets are needed during the submittal process?

A:   This should be addressed during the intake phase of the process. The Permit Tech will help facilitated the inclusion of additional sheets

Q:   Is table of contents different than sheet index on the cover page?

A:   No, it should be the same.

Q:   Are fire rebuilds submitted through the same process? Is there a way to flag them as rebuilds?

A:   Yes, fire rebuilds will follow the same process once this new process is implemented. We already have a process that separates these permits from the others. That process will remain intact as is.

Q:   There are several questions that need to be answered about the project when you first start an application. I did the upload. I am not the Engineer. Is there a a list of the required information I need to gather prior to starting the application?

A:   Ideally, this will all be included in our updated Submittal Requirements to make the process most efficient for our applicants. Of course, it's not likely that we will cover every possible scenario. In any case, the Permit Tech will help you through the submittal process where needed

Q:   Will this process apply to encroachment permits as well? We don't generally have as many documents associated with those permits and don't submit through the online system currently - will this be changing?

A:   Eventually, encroachment permit applications will also be submitted online using DPR. When those permit types go live, we'll identify what documents will be required to be submitted with the application.

Q:   How long does an application stay on the system before it would be automatically deleted?

A:   There may be some differences between different permit types, but generally speaking, an application will expire after 1 year. That said, it can be renewed if needed.

Q:   Do we need to upload the CNI-037 Smoke / Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm Self Verification Form (PDF) during the initial uploaded or can we upload later on prior to the inspection?

A:   You will still be able to upload prior to inspection, as you do currently.

Q:   Does the Processing step process documents besides plan sheets such as Drainage Reports? If so, how does it identify separate pages (sheets)? In particular, what does it do to distinguish the 8.5 inches x 11 inches narrative pages from the 24 inches x 36 inches Hydrology (Pre & Post-Construction) sheets?

A:   The system knows, based on what was selected in the dropdown to categorize the document being uploaded, whether it happens to be a plan sheet or any sort of supporting document – a drainage report, calculations. Only plan files are going to be taken apart into the individual sheets and have a sheet identified by the sheet number. Supporting document will not be versioned at the page level. So from a resubmittal perspective, for non-plan files, the entire document will be uploaded again. 

Q:   Does the generated email from Permit Sonoma only send to the submitter or is the client/owner also notified on every interaction?

A:   Automated emails go to the Owner, Applicant, Licensed Professional and any contacts.

Q:   Let’s say you have submitted a set of plans and it turns out that there are several changes to plans. How would you be able to contact a Permit Tech or Plan Check person to let them know not to waste time on reviewing first set of plans and that you need to resubmit several changes to the original plan set?

A:   Please contact a Permit Tech directly via phone or email and they can assist you changing submittal.

Q:   Will plans submitted for Coastal Permit be available in this system for Building Permit when time comes?

A:   There is a way for staff to import a set of plans from another permit in the system. That said, it might be most efficient to just upload those separately with each permit where they are required. It will save on the questions that will inevitably go back and forth.

Q:   When and how will fees be assessed?

A:   I will address this in my closing. This is changing along with each implementation of the Digital Plan Room. With the implementation, we will be collecting the first round of fees once the submittal is deemed complete and before the application goes to initial reviews. Currently, it needs an initial review from each relevant discipline before fees can be collected. Once fees are collected, the project is placed in the Plan Check queue. This change will speed that up significantly and get your project in the Plan Check queue much sooner.

Q:   If the submittal set of drawings was prepared by multiple consultants, but submitted by one applicant, how does the applicant address comments on sheets that are part of the set but generated by another discipline? Example: Architect submits: Comments are on structural sheets needing revision by the engineer. Will the engineer be allowed to respond directly even if they are not the applicant

A:   If they are listed as a Licensed Professional or additional contact on the permit, yes. If not, the applicant can set anyone as a delegate, and this will give them access. All delegates or contacts must be registered in Permits Online

Q:   When we resubmit, you’re saying to only submit sheets that have changed. We like to add the revision number and date on all sheets so the whole plan set has the new date. This allows other consultants to see they have the correct plan set and when it was revised. In this case should we upload the whole plan set even though some sheets haven’t really changed except adding the revision# and date to the title block?

A:   The Digital Plan Room will keep all of this organized, making this labelling unnecessary. That said, we will include this point in our review of our Submittal Requirements. Thanks for bringing this point to light.

Q:   Would I be able to view issues without being the person that submitted the permit and plans? May I make any changes (e.g. Airport permit requiring response from a County employee that did not submit the permit)?

A:   County employees that are required to provide their review or responses will be able to do so directly in our backend software. Non-county employees can provide responses if they are listed as an additional contact or a delegate assigned by the applicant. To avoid confusion, the applicant will act as the gate keeper for contact or delegate assignments

Q:   How does 'Applicants Response' extend to the design team consultant/ engineers? Do they sign up for their own login and get assigned to the project team contact?

A:   They will need to be a registered user in Permit Online. Once registered, they can be added as an additional contact or assigned as a delegate by the applicant.

Q:   If we encounter an irresolvable issue (after a few rounds on DPR), how do we elevate it to an in-person meeting or telephonic discussion?

A:   Contact the Plans Examiner

Q:   Can the answer to the issue be general:

A:   Answers will be accepted or not accepted based on the specifics.

Q:   Where will we find this recording for future reference?

A:   The 2023 DPR Customer Training recordings can be found here: Digital Plan Room (