Grading Inspections

Grading inspections is a process of checks in which approvals are granted by stages for grading construction. The process ensures quality assurance inspections of your grading project during construction and make sure it follows the approved plans, building codes and local ordinances and is also intended to assure safe site development for public safety and welfare.

Presite Inspections
A presite inspection is performed on your property prior to approval of a building permit.  The grading inspector reviews the building plans, site topography, checks for potential construction hazards, and determines if a grading permit or other ancillary permits are required.  If a grading permit application is also submitted concurrently with a building permit application, this process is accomplished through the review of the grading construction plans.  Check to see if your construction work qualifies for a presite inspection exemption.

Required Inspections
When your grading permit is issued, you will receive an inspection permit card.  This permit card provides a list of called grading inspections established by the Chief Building Official to ensure that the grading inspector performs site inspections, coordination, stage approvals, and the grading construction is in compliance with the approved grading permit.

These inspections require the applicant to notify the Grading Inspection Division as various stages of grading construction are completed, and require the grading inspector to be present on-site at various stages to inspect and approve portions of the grading construction.

Pre-Grading Meeting
The initial inspection usually held on site prior to any brushing and preparatory to actual grading construction, is generally refereed to as pre-grading meeting.

The meeting provides an open forum for the discussion of the contractors approved methods of construction; discussion of any special problems such as stabilization of fills, brush, tree, and rock removal and disposals methods.  Erosion controls for rainy season protection,  discussion concerning the conditions of the permits, and the necessary paper work required during in-progress and final inspections.

By participants developing strong communication and an understanding of the conditions, requirements, and specifications of the approved grading plan and permit during the meeting, anticipated problems are resolved through careful planning for safe grading construction.

In-Progress Grading Inspections
The in-progress grading include toe of fill key inspection, excavation inspections, compacted fill inspections, drainage devise inspections, and driveway/private road inspections.

In-progress grading inspections should continue during construction to ensure compliance with the grading permit and the grading ordinance.  These inspections also help the operation maintain steady progress and minimize holdups, stop work, or expiration of the grading permit.

Much of the in-progress grading inspection is involved with making sure that the soil engineers representative is on the site observing grading construction, ensuring compliance with the soils engineer report recommendations, and that the grading contractor is complying with the specifications and requirements of the approved plans and permit.

The grading inspector keeps communication open and coordinates work among the contractor, soil engineer representative, and engineering geologist, to assure that each stage of grading construction is properly inspected, tested, and approved by the geotechnical consultants.

Scheduling Grading Inspections
You can schedule a grading inspection at the Salinas Permit Call Center at least 24 hours before the work day of the inspection.  Have your permit number (from the back of your permit card) and the inspection type or code listed on the permit card ready when you call. Telephone Number: (831) 755-5027.

If you have a problem that you can't resolve by phone, schedule an in-progress inspection. The grading inspector will meet you on site and help you resolve the problem (though this may require follow-up research in our office).

If your grading permit is nearing a time deadline, and you are not ready for a final inspection, please schedule an in-progress grading inspection. The grading inspector can verify that work is in progress and record exactly what has been done.  Each time you pass an inspection, your permit is valid for 180 days from that inspection.  This will keep your grading permit valid throughout the grading construction period.

Results of an Inspection
If your project passes an in-progress grading inspection, the inspector will sign and date your card in the appropriate space. If it doesn't pass, the inspector will leave you a notice describing corrective work that needs to be done. You then need to make the corrections and have the project re-inspected before proceeding.

Changes During Construction
Please let us know as soon as you decide to make a change in your grading construction. Depending on how much you want to change, you may need to submit a change detail or plan revision, or you may need a new grading permit. By discussing this with us early on, we can tell you what is needed, and you can probably avoid a delay or stop work on your project.

Final Grading Approval
At this stage all grading construction has been completed, but there has been no release of utilities or issuance of the certificate of occupancy.

For final approval of your grading permit, you must pass the final grading inspection.  This inspection takes places when all building site fine grading work has been completed, including; excavation and fills placement, drainage devices and disposals systems, erosion control and landscape of slopes.

All professional reports including in-grading field reports, soil compaction test reports, an as-graded plan, and a final graded letter that summarizes all grading construction for the site must be reviewed and approved by the engineer of record or the soils engineer. 

If there are any hold or correction notes on the permit or grading plans, the grading inspector will need proof that the applicant has taken care of the holds before the permit can be final sign-off.

Final grading inspection must be obtained within a specific time limit.

Temporary Occupancy

Temporary Occupancy may be granted prior to final grading inspection under certain conditions and extraordinary circumstances. The Applicant will be required to complete a Temporary Occupancy Request Form. A bond in the amount of $5,000 will be required unless the Chief Building Official has first approved a lesser amount. Contact your grading inspector for additional information.