faqGroupLookupString: Digital Document Preparation
Digital Document Preparation
Who is responsible for preparing digital documents (plans, calculations, reports, etc.)?
The State of California has authorized the preparation of plans, calculations, reports, etc., to be prepared by 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.
Why does the County of Santa Clara only accept PDF plans for most documents?
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.
How do I convert a vector-based PDF to a raster-based PDF if my file size is too large?
The industry standard software for working with PDF files is Adobe Acrobat or Bluebeam; however, there are numerous PDF tools freely available on the Internet.
- 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.
- Convert the raster images back to compressed PDF files.
- Merge the individual PDF files into a single multi-sheet PDF file.
My PDF files are too big. What am I doing wrong?
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 must 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.)
Why does the County require specific file names?
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.
Why do I need to bookmark every sheet of plan set?
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/plan preparer who has prepared the plan set.
Why does the County not allow embedded fonts?
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 continuously 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.
faqGroupLookupString: Digital Document Review
How do I make an application?
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.
Can I apply for a permit on-line?
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 IPP.
I have created an account through the Insite Public Portal (IPP), why can’t I see my records?
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.
I can now see my records. When can I expect comments or approvals on my application?
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.
What happens when all reviewers have completed their review? How will I be notified of any comments or permits?
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 to the applicant. 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.
Can I resubmit digital documents through the Insite Public Portal (IPP)?
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 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.