Professional Design Limitations

Professional Design Applicable Statutes
Structural Engineers No limitations; may design any type of building 6731, 6736, 5537.1 of B & P Codes.
Architects May design any type of building except: The structural portion of a hospital 15048 of H & S Code
5500.1, 6737 of B & P Code.
Civil Engineers May design any building except: Hospitals or schools 15013 of H & S Code 5537.5, 6731, 6735 of B & P Code.
Unlicensed Persons 5537, 5538, 6737.1 of B & P Code.

Unless the Building Official having jurisdiction deems that an undue risk to the public health, safety or welfare is involved; or affects the structural system or safety of the building;  or the design deviates from the substantial compliance with the conventional framing requirements for wood framed construction found in the Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations or Tables of Limitations for wood frame construction in Chapter 23 of the 2019 California Building Code, unlicensed persons may prepare plans, drawings or specifications for the following:

  1. Single-family dwellings of wood frame construction not more than two stories and a basement in height. 
  2. Multiple dwellings containing not more than two dwelling units of wood frame construction, not more than two stories and a basement in height. A single lot may have a maximum of two dwelling units per lot.
  3. Garages or other structures appurtenant to single family dwellings, of wood frame construction not more than two stories and a basement in height.
  4. Non-structural interior alterations or additions including the installation of fixtures, cabinetwork, furniture, appliances, or equipment.
  5. Agricultural and ranch buildings of wood frame construction.

Due Note: Unlicensed persons may not prepare plans for those alternations that will change or affect any components of the structural system or safety of the building or its occupants

Plans prepared for the following works except as previously noted, shall be deemed as affecting the safety of a building or its occupants and shall be stamped and signed by aregistered engineer or architect:

  1. New commercial buildings, additions to existing commercial buildings.
  2. Projects with interior or exterior structural alterations.Interior alteration with an occupancy change.
  3. Interior alteration with walls and partitions over 5’9” in height or ceiling work which cover a floor area greater than 3, 000 square feet in B, F-1, F-2, S-1, S-2 and M occupancies.
  4. Storage racks over 8’ in height.
  5. Remodeling projects with changes to firewalls, barriers, or partitions.
  6. Alteration with change to exiting requirements.
  7. High-Hazard group H occupancies.
  8. Assembly occupancies A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, and A-5.
  9. Tanks and vessels.
  10. Roof mounted mechanical equipment.
  11. School and day care occupancy E.
  12. Institutional occupancies I-1, I-2 and I-3 
  13. Projects with S-1, S-2 and F-2 occupancies
  14. Hotel, motel and apartment occupancies
  15. R-1 and R-2 Projects with mixed occupancies
  16. Remodeling projects in a high-rise (having floors over 75’ in height) building 
  17. Lateral force resisting systems utilizing poles embedded in the ground
  18. Cripple walls exceeding 4’ in height or adjacent to garage door openings 

Any project deemed by Chief Building Official to require professional design by a California Registered Engineer or Architect.