Inspections and Securities

El Dorado County, South Lake Tahoe, Douglas County
Brenden Phillips 775-589-5297

Placer County, Washoe County
Rachel Lopez 775-589-5324

Code Compliance Manager
Steve Sweet 775-589-5250

Inspection Frequently Asked Questions

What is a pre-grade inspection and do I need one before I start construction?

A pre-grade inspection is an on-site meeting to review the installation of temporary Best Management Practices (BMPs), go over permit conditions, and discuss general construction practices.  All construction projects, with the exception of work that is exempt or qualified exempt, require a pre-grade inspection. If you need a copy of the file, please see Parcel & Permit Records.

Who do I call to perform the inspection?

If your permit was issued by TRPA, use the inspection request links above.

If your permit was issued through a local jurisdiction please contact them directly to schedule your inspection.

City of South Lake Tahoe – More Information
(530) 542-6017

El Dorado County – Request Inspection Online
(530) 621-5377

Washoe County – More Information
(775) 328-2020

Placer County – Request Inspection Online
(530) 581-6200

Douglas County (Request inspection above through TRPA)
(775) 782-9006

How do I prepare for my pre-grade inspection?

Review the Pregrade Inspection Checklist.

Once you are ready for the inspection, request at the links above. Typically, we are able to schedule a pre-grade inspection within 3 business days of your request. While we try to fulfill specific appointment date/time requests, inspections are scheduled on a first-come basis.  Please request as far in advance as possible to ensure space on your preferred date.

How do I get my TRPA project security released?

Prior to the release of your security, your property must pass a TRPA final inspection. Before requesting your inspection above, review the Final Inspection Checklist.

Typically, a final inspection will be completed within 10 business days of your request.  Please keep in mind that we are unable to complete final inspections when the ground is covered in snow, please wait until the site is clear of snow before requesting the inspection.

The security will be returned to the person who originally posted the security. If you have not received a security check or any communication regarding the security release within 30 days of the final inspection, please contact TRPA at

What happens if I don’t pass my final inspection?

You will be notified by email of all items requiring correction. Once all deficiencies have been addressed, request a reinspection and pay the inspection fee.

How do I get my TRPA scenic security released?

Scenic securities will be released once all conditions of your permit are met. Review the Scenic Inspection Request Checklist and submit the requested information.

What are TRPA’s tree protection requirements?

Download TRPA’s Tree Protection Tips..

When do I need to winterize my construction site?

Sites must be winterized by October 15. See our Site Winterization Guidelines.

Pre-Grade Inspection FAQs

Do I need a Pre–Grade meeting prior to commencement of construction?

Yes, if it is not an Exempt or Qualified Exempt Activity. It may also be referred to as a pre–construction meeting. This is not a meeting where everyone gathers to discuss the project. This is a meeting where the inspector goes over the permit and the temporary BMPs. Once this inspection is passed, construction and digging, also called grading, can commence.

Who do I call to perform the inspection?

The TRPA inspector assigned to your project is listed in the final notice of

  • If at the TRPA office on Lower Kingsbury, call (775) 588–4547
  • If at 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd (corner of 50 and Tata, just past the Y), call the CSLT Bldg. Dept., 530–542–6017
  • If at 3368 Lake Tahoe Blvd, Ste 302, call the El Dorado Co. Bldg. Dept., 530–573–3330
  • If at 865 Tahoe Blvd, call the Washoe Co. Bldg. Dept. 775–832–4140
  • If at 565 West Lake, call the Placer Co. Bldg. Dept. 530–581–6205
  • All Douglas County permits are done by TRPA

How do I prepare for the inspection?

  • Have the address posted.
  • Install all temporary erosion control (BMP) measures and vegetation protection fencing per approved plans.
  • Have all acknowledged permits and all approved plans on site.
  • If you are removing trees that would interfere with the BMPs or vegetation protection fencing, call to see if it is ok to put those items up after the tree has been removed.

The only things you are allowed to do prior to a pre–grade inspection are:

  • Demolitions – if approved prior to Pre–grade.

When do I call for a final security return inspection?

When the vegetation has grown in and all standard and special conditions of the permit have been met.

What are the vegetation requirements for the return of the security?

These requirements may differ from project to project. Your project permit should describe the details for your particular requirement.

What is the grading season and what are the exceptions?

May 1 – Oct 15 is the digging season and this never changes. However, you cannot grade at any time when the soil is wet. Wet soil is saturated soil, or soil in a muddy condition, or soil that can be tracked offsite. Exceptions are only granted for threats to water quality and to protect public health and safety.

To request an exception:

  • Request it as soon as possible
  • The request must be in writing and the letter must state:
    • why the exception is needed
    • detailed description of the work to be done
    • location of the grading
    • amount of material to be excavated
    • where the excavated material will go
    • number of days needed for the exception
    • Assessor’s Parcel Number
    • physical address
    • TRPA file number (if applicable)

Exceptions are granted only if the appropriate findings are made.

Can I request inspections online?

  • Requests to local jurisdictions will vary depending on each jurisdiction
  • Security Return Inspections – yes, via email
  • Security Return Re–Inspections – not at this time
  • Tree Removal – not at this time
  • Pre–grade – not at this time
  • Other visit by compliance inspector – yes, via email
  • Winterization – yes, via email

Do I have to pay the security return inspection fee prior to being put on the list for an inspection?


What happens if I don’t pass my final inspection?

  • A letter will be sent to you stating what needs to be fixed.
  • Comply with the instructions of the letter and then submit a request for re–inspection with a fee payment.
  • The property will be re–inspected.
  • If the property passes, the security will be released.
  • If the property does not pass, you will receive a letter outlining the steps you need to take, then re–apply and pay the fee.


Site must be winterized by Oct 15. See our Site Winterization Requirements.

Grading Season Exceptions

The Lake Tahoe Basin grading season runs from May 1 through October 15. Outside of the grading season, construction sites must be winterized and all soil disturbing activities (excavating, backfilling, etc.) are prohibited unless a Grading Season Exception (GSE) is issued by TRPA. Exceptions are only approved for projects where an emergency exists and the grading is necessary for the protection of public health and safety, for erosion control purposes, or for the protection of water quality.

Grading Season Exceptions are not issued to excavate a new foundation.

The following activities do not require an exception, even outside the grading season:

  • Up to 3 cubic yards of soil disturbance (when not part of a larger project) if completed within 48 hours and the site is stabilized to prevent erosion
  • Paving, if all grading and base compaction is already completed

Request Process

  1. Gather information about the property. In order to complete the form, you will need the permit number (TRPA, County, or City permit) and either the property address or APN.
  2. Photographs are required for review of your GSE request. Required photographs include:
    -Driveway (Paved access is required)
    -Proposed work area
    -Temporary BMPs
  3. Fill out the inspection request form online.
    -Register for an account with our online records service in order to access online applications.
    -Sign into your account, click “Building”, and click the link “create an application.”
  4. Pay fees. The online form requires payment by credit card. The fee is required for review of your request and does not guarantee approval. No refunds will be issued if your request is denied.
  5. Once your request is submitted, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to the address provided. An inspector will review your request and will send e-mail notification within 3 business days to let you know if your request has been approved or denied.
  6. Occasional e-mail updates may be sent out regarding weather conditions or other important news related to your grading season exception.
    All grading/soil disturbing activities must be suspended during periods of precipitation or when the soil is covered in snow, saturated, or muddy.

Conditions of Approval

  • Temporary BMPs must be installed and fully functioning at all times.
    All grading/soil disturbing activities must be suspended during periods of precipitation or when the soil is covered in snow, saturated, or muddy.
    The property owner/contractor is responsible for checking the National Weather Service forecast daily to determine if weather conditions are appropriate for grading/soil disturbing activities.
    The property owner/contractor must be able to winterize the construction site within 12 hours, in case weather conditions change suddenly.
    No sediment or waste materials may be discharged from the construction site.
    Upon completion of the grading/soil disturbing activities, the entire site must be winterized in accordance with the TRPA Winterization Guidelines. Failure to comply with the conditions of the Grading Season Exception and Winterization Guidelines may result in a penalty of up to $5,000 per violation per day.

Scenic Inspection Request Form