Building and Safety FAQs

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Q: What building codes are currently used in the City?
A: We are currently using the 2013 California Building, Residential, Green Building, Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical, Fire and Energy Codes, along with the City’s Adoptive Ordinances, which can be found in the Rancho Cordova Municipal Code, Title 16, Buildings and Construction. On January 1, 2017, the City of Rancho Cordova will begin using the 2016 California Building Codes.  

Q: What is the Disabled Access Construction Cost Index?
A: The current threshold valuation is $150,244.

Q: What is the Climate Zone for the City of Rancho Cordova?
A: The City is in Climate Zone 12.

Q: What is the Exposure and Wind Load for the City of Rancho Cordova?
A: The Wind Load for design in Rancho Cordova is 110 MPH, and the is exposure C, unless you can prove or justify exposure B (2013 CBC Chapter 16, Section 1609A.4).

Q: What is the Seismic Design Category for the City of Rancho Cordova?

A: For conventional light frame construction see Section 2308 and use seismic design category D with an Sds greater than 0.50 and less than 0.75 or see CRC Section 602 and use seismic design category D0 or D1.

Q: What are the times I can submit my plans for review? Do I need to make an appointment?
A: The City accepts plans, and also issues permits, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 PM to 5:00 p.m. New permits will not be processed after 11:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. The permit counter is closed for lunch from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM. No appointment is necessary.

Q: What is the minimum submittal size for plans?
A: For residential plans, the minimum size sheets we will accept are 11”x17” paper, and for commercial plans, the minimum size we will accept is 18”x24” paper.

Q: Can I track my permit process via the internet?
A: You can now apply for certain Building Permits for Residential Projects online, schedule an inspection related to an existing permit, and pay fees online! Learn more

Q: Do I need a permit for a patio cover if it’s not attached to my house?
A: Possibly. This is covered in the Rancho Cordova Uniform Administrative Code, located in the Rancho Cordova Municipal Code, Title 16, Buildings and Construction. It states that the following do not require permits: "One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet.”

Q: What kind of work requires a permit?
A: Most work that involves plumbing, electrical, mechanical or structural elements requires a permit. For a list of what work you can perform without a permit, see the Rancho Cordova Uniform Administrative Code located in the Rancho Cordova Municipal Code, Title 16, Buildings and Construction.

Q: How much does it cost for a permit?
A: The cost for a permit varies by permit type, scope of work, and contract value for the project. For more information on fees, see our fee schedule.

Q: How long does it take to get my plans approved?
A: Most residential projects take about two weeks, and commercial projects take about three weeks, but the review time can be adjusted based on the complexity of the project.

Q: Can I draw my own plans?
A: Under certain circumstances, it is possible to draw your own plans. However, this is the exception, and not necessarily the rule. See our handout "Preparation of Plans and Specifications" for more information.

Q: What should you include in a home fire escape plan?

A: An up-to-date fire extinguisher, a working carbon monoxide and smoke alarm, two exit paths in case of an emergency, and more