Building Permits & Construction Observation

Construction Observation Process

The HCAI Office of Statewide Hospital Planning and Development (OSHPD) uses a Field Compliance Unit for healthcare construction oversight and to confirm projects are in compliance with California Building Standards Codes.

Below is shown an abbreviated summary of the Construction Observation process for a health facility.

Please refer to the construction observation additional information document for a broader explanation of the process.

Process Summary

Step 1 – Building Permit Issued

Upon plan approval, a building permit (OSH-FD-302 Application for Building Permit) is issued and construction begins.

Step 2 – Inspector of Record (IOR) Approved

An Inspector of Record (IOR) approved by the hospital governing board or authority is employed by the facility and works under the direction of the Design Professional of Record. The approved IOR with the required personal knowledge performs only those duties associated with the required continuous inspections, and executes the required inspections specific to the project(s) for which the IOR has been approved.

Step 3 – OSHPD Field Staff Visit the Construction Site

The OSHPD Field Compliance Unit staff periodically visit the construction site to:

  • Ensure that requirements of the building code are being met.
  • Monitor the performance of the IOR.
  • Document the lack of adequate, competent, or continuous inspection.

Step 4 – OSHPD Regional Compliance Officer Tasks

The Regional Compliance Officer (RCO):

  • Supervises the work activities of the field staff.
  • Coordinates the monitoring of construction of heath facilities.
  • Makes decisions regarding Alternate Methods of Compliance.
  • Reviews qualifications and workload of Inspectors of Record (IOR).
  • Monitors the on-going performance of IORs through assigned field staff.
  • Issues building permits and stop work orders for unsafe, unauthorized, or non-complying construction work as necessary.

Step 5 – OSHPD Compliance Officer Tasks

The Compliance Officer (CO):

  • Conducts construction observation of the health facility’s construction to ensure work is in substantial conformance with the approved plans and specifications.
  • Monitors compliance with the approved Testing, Inspection and Observation (TIO) program.
  • Monitors the IOR’s performance.
  • Coordinates field staff.
  • Issues the certificate of occupancy and/or construction final.
  • Recommends closure of projects for inactivity, noting outstanding safety issues with code sections for non-compliant work when appropriate.

Step 6 – After Construction

Once construction is completed, OSHPD issues a certificate of occupancy which allows the owner to then apply to the Department of Health Services for a license to operate the health facility.

Assembly Bill (AB 2632)

The enactment of AB 2632 (Chapter 453, statutes of 2004) added Health and Safety Code Section 129875.1 to the Alfred E. Alquist Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act.

This statute authorizes specified hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities to perform some maintenance and repair work without plan approval by the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI), Office of Statewide Hospital Planning and Development (OSHPD).

This statute’s provision applies only to single-story health facilities of wood or light steel frame construction.

Its expedited procedure applies only to alterations that are designed to restore health facilities to normal operational status, that are necessary to repair systems or equipment, or that are undertaken for routine maintenance purposes. Examples of such repair or maintenance projects might include replacement of hot water heaters, dishwashers, handrails, lights, and finish materials.

Except for the provisions in the bill for expedited permitting, these construction projects must still conform to the provisions of the latest California Building Standards Code.

Explanation of AB2632 Procedures & Requirements

Submit an Application and TIO Program

  • An Application for New Project (OSH-FD-121) and a Testing, Inspection and Observation (TIO) Form must be submitted and approved by OSHPD before construction begins.
  • The application must include a description of the work to be performed, and how the project meets the criteria set forth in statute.
  • Professional Stamps and Signatures as Required per California Administrative Code, Section 7-111 and Section 7-115 (An image of the required professional stamp and signature will be accepted on the drawings, however; digital signatures from a registry will not be accepted.)
  • Information must be in PDF format with the view set to “Page Level”.

Office Notifies Applicant

  • The Office will notify the applicant in ten (10) working days or less if the project has been accepted or rejected, or is exempted from OSHPD review. If approved, the Regional Compliance Officer (RCO) will sign the application/permit form and notify the applicant and the Compliance Officer. Any special conditions for the approval will be noted on the application form.
  • A Testing, Inspection and Observation (TIO) Program must also be submitted to the Office before a permit can be issued
  • Upon approval of the application/permit, the construction work may commence.

Office Inspects Completed Work

  • The Office must inspect and approve the completed work prior to use of the system or subject of construction or alteration. Any deficiencies must be corrected before use of the system or alteration will be allowed.
  • The Office may require interim inspection when walls, ceilings or other construction materials will cover the finished work.
  • Responsible parties shall file verified reports in accordance with the requirements of the TIO Program.

The procedures explained above for the implementation of AB 2632 do not preclude a facility from performing emergency work required by equipment failure, natural disaster or other occurrences that require immediate repair or replacement to ensure occupant safety or health. In such instances, the facility must request and obtain authorization from the Office prior to performing the work, and submit an application for plan review and construction documents as soon as possible. Please contact the RCO for specific requirements related to authorization for emergency work.

Please direct questions regarding these procedures or projects submitted under AB 2632 to the Regional Compliance Officer.

OSHPD Region Map

HCAI Office of Statewide Hospital Planning and Development (OSHPD) staff is divided into six work groups defined as “Regions,” based on geographical assignments. Each assigned region is staffed with office and field staff.

The regional assignment concept allows OSHPD staff to:

  • Foster better lines of communication between the technical disciplines.
  • Establish a greater sense of responsibility for assignments.
  • Create closer working relationships between staff and the facilities in each region.