Building Division

The Building Division, which includes new construction fire prevention functions, reviews all construction plans in a coordinated and efficient manner to ensure compliance with the Building and Fire Codes. The Building Division also inspects buildings during construction to ensure that they comply with these codes. In addition, Building inspection staff provides information to citizens regarding home improvement regulations. The Building Inspection Division provides "one-stop" permit processing services to the public.

Over-the-Counter Plan Check

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Over-the-Counter plan check has been suspended. If you have additional questions about the City's plan check process, please contact the Building Division by calling 831-768-3050 or emailing

Design Criteria

The following design criteria are provided as general guidelines for all building projects within the City of Watsonville and are not intended to replace specific recommendations by the project engineer or architect: 
  • Seismic Design Category (SDC): D (Section 1613, CBC)
  • Wind Speed & Exposure: 92 mph, Surface Roughness Category C, and Wind Exposure C.
  • Climate Zone: 4 (Fig A101-A, CEnC)
  • Soil Bearing Pressure: 1500 pounds per square foot (psf) or in accordance with the soil report.  Due to expansive soil conditions in Watsonville, a soils report is required for all new construction projects (Section 1803, CBC).  Please contact the Building & Safety Division if you have any questions.
  • Maximum Rainfall: 1.5 inches per hour.  (Table D-1.1, CPC)
  • Climatic and Geographic Design Criteria (CRC Section 301.2) - For one- and two-family dwellings:
  • Ground Snow Load: NA in Watsonville
  • Wind Design Speed: 92 mph
  • Seismic Design Category: D2CRC Section R301.2.2.1 for   SDS=1.0 in City of Watsonville
  • Air Freezing Index: See Table 403.3(2), CRC
  • Mean Annual Temperature: 59.7 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Subject to Damage From:
    • Frost Line Depth: 12 Inches
    • Weathering: No
    • Termite: Very High
    • Winter Design Temperature: 32 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Ice Barrier Underlayment Required: 
    • Flood Hazards:
  • City of Watsonville has participated in the NFIP since 2/22/1960 (Ordinance 1423-21 adopted 10/12/2021) Last Flood Insurance Study was completed on September 29, 2017 Map Number 06087C0275E, 06087C0381E, 06087C0383E, 06087C0384E, 06087C0387F1, 06087C0391E, 06087C0392E, 06087C0393E, 06087C0394E, 06087C0411E, and 06087C0413E (Effective October 12, 2021)