Plan Check & Permit

Plan Check and Permit

Links Helpful to Plan Check & Permit

The Construction Process

The full "Homeowner's Guide to Additions and Remodeling" can be downloaded as a PDF here.

  1. Get zoning and property information from ZIMAS, an online research tool from the City Planning department.
    • If your property doesn't appear in ZIMAS, you may not be within the City of Los Angeles, and will require service from another County department. Use the Online Service Locator from the LA County Dept of Public Works to find out who services your area.
  2. Design your project and draw plans
  3. Submit plans and complete a permit application at an LADBS office
  4. Plans are approved by LADBS and a permit is issued, which may be picked up at an LADBS office.
  5. Construction begins, and inspections are requested while construction is occurring.
    • There are many different inspection types, and inspection requirements depending on the project. You must have an inspection done on relevant construction before any work is covered or concealed.
    • All inspections will be recorded on the Building Card (B-8), and plans must be present for each inspection.
  6. Final inspection is performed and a Certificate of Occupancy is issued.
    • Retain the Certificate of Occupancy and Building Card (B8) for your records

Notice to Contractors - Insurance and License Requirements

California Labor Code Section 3800 requires all contractors to show their valid certificate of workers’ compensation insurance at the time of each permit issuance. The certificate holder must be the contractor’s state license board.

The Department of Building and Safety does not maintain a worker’s compensation certificate log with a list of authorized agents. All authorized agents for contractors must carry and show their notarized letter at each permit issuance.

The following items are required from you at the time of permit issuance:

  1. Copy of certificate of workers’ compensation insurance made out to the contractor’s state license board.
  2. Copy of your LA City business tax registration certificate or a newly paid receipt for one.
  3. Notarized letters of authorization for your agents.
  4. Copy of your contractor’s license pocket ID.
  5. Solid Waste Hauler Permit Information.

Applicants without employees are exempt from requirement #1. Your cooperation will help expedite the permit process.

Flowchart of LADBS Permit Process, leading from plan check, through permit and inspections

How to Get a Permit

  1. Express Permit
    (Online or walk-in)
  1. Counter Plan Check
  1. Expanded Counter Plan Check
  1. Regular Plan Check
  1. Parallel Design - Permitting Process

Types of Plan Checks & Permits

Note: Plans need to be submitted to the appropriate section separately.

Building

Building Permits are required for new constructions, additions, alterations, and demolition/removal of a building or structure.

Building plans shall be filed and approved by the Department (as a Building Plan Check) before any permit is issued for the following:

  • New building or structure
  • Addition to building
  • Structural alteration to building or structure
  • Interior modification and change of floor plan
  • Change of use and/or occupancy
  • Parking layout change
  • Use-of-land, such as recycling deposit center, open air storage, outdoor temporary events
  • Signs and sign structures
  • Fences, retaining walls and shoring plans

For more information on the Plan Check process, visit our Regular Plan Check and Counter Plan Check pages.

See Building Permit Forms & Publications

Electrical

Electrical Permits are required for any electrical work.

Electrical plans shall be filed with and approved by the Department (as an Electrical Plan Check) before any permit is issued for work related to the following:

  • Theaters or motion picture theaters
  • Places of assembly
  • All health care facilities within the scope of Article 517 of the C.E.C.
  • A new building or an addition to a building if the computed area exceeds 30,000 square feet (2,787 m2), any installation if the total load exceeds 400 amperes, or the installation of equipment rated 600 amperes or more. The computed area shall be the sum of the areas on each floor bounded by the outside surfaces of the exterior walls and shall include floor areas beneath building projections which extend more than 6 feet (1829 mm).
  • All electrical installations over 600 volts.
  • Installation in locations classified as hazardous locations, unless otherwise satisfactory to the Department.
  • Projects which include the installation of exit signs, egress lighting or security lighting.
  • Installation of a complicated electrical system as determined by the Department, such as, Emergency, Legally Required Standby, Fire Alarm, and Gas Detection Systems, except for the following:
    • The addition of strobe power supplies and their attached devices connected to any existing fire control unit or panel.
    • The installation of special extinguishing, central station monitoring systems, dialers, and their attached devices.
    • The addition of any fire warning devices connected to an existing programmable fire warning system.
    • Installation of lighting fixtures weighing more than 300 pounds.
    • Installation of electrical devices, equipment and lighting systems subject to the California Energy Code

For more information on the Plan Check process, visit our Regular Plan Check and Counter Plan Check pages.

Note: San Pedro, South L.A. and West L.A. offices do not have Electrical Plan Check services at this time.

See Electrical Permit Forms & Publications

Elevator/Pressure Vessel

Elevator/Pressure Vessel Permits are required for the installation or modification of any elevator, lift, dumbwaiter, or escalator.

Except for repairs, plans for installation or modification of any elevator, lift, dumbwaiter, and/or escalator shall be filed with and approved by the Department before any permit is issued, as part of an Elevator/Pressure Vessel Plan Check.

For more information on the Plan Check process visit our Regular Plan Check and Counter Plan Check pages.

See Elevator/Pressure Vessel Forms & Publications

Fire Sprinkler

Fire Sprinkler Permits are required for the installation or modification of any fire sprinkler system.

Fire sprinkler plans shall be filed with and approved by the Department (as a Fire Sprinkler Plan Check) before any permit is issued for work listed below:

  • Class H Standpipes
  • Standpipes: Wet, Dry, or Combination (Class I, II, III)
  • Fire pump systems
  • Fire hydrant systems
  • Hand hose systems connected to fire sprinkler piping
  • Monitor nozzle systems
  • Fire sprinkler systems

Exceptions: Plan check is not required for the following:

  • Raising or lowering of sprinklers due to change in ceiling height
  • Replacing of sprinklers of the same type orifice size and temperature rating
  • Relocation of sprinklers in previously occupied buildings or tenant spaces

For more information on the Plan Check process visit our Regular Plan Check and Counter Plan Check pages.

See Fire Sprinkler Forms & Publications

Grading

Grading Permits are required for any grading work in the hillside grading area, removal and re-compaction, or backfill.

Grading Plan Checks are performed by both the Structural Plan Check and the Grading Sections. Grading plans submitted together with building plans are reviewed by structural plan check engineers, unless substantial site grading for cut and fill are shown on plans. The Grading Section is responsible for reviewing grading-only plans for: tract grading, mass grading, slope repairs, landslides and substantial cut and fill jobs in hillside areas. All grading plans are submitted to the Coordinating Section.

Grading Plan Checks are required before any permit is issued for the following:

  • Slope repairs
  • Landslide repairs or removal
  • Tract Grading
  • Mass Grading
  • Site preparation
  • Removal and recompaction for building pads
  • Basement excavations for new buildings in Hillside area
  • Pool excavations for new pools in Hillside area
  • Retaining walls cuts, backcuts, and backfill

Express Grading Permits

Grading permits which do not require the checking of plans, do not remove lateral support from the public way or from an adjacent structure, and do not require a soils investigation report (i.e., removal of underground storage tanks and removal and recompaction which do not change grading contours) may be issued at the grading counter. Provide a plot plan which shows the area of work. Go directly to the grading counter at Metro or Van Nuys offices.

Note: Submit one copy of soil and/or geology reports along with Department approval letters with all plans submitted for plan check. This copy is in addition to the three copies that are submitted directly to grading counter for report review.

See Grading Permit Forms & Publications

Mechanical HVAC

Mechanical HVAC Permits are required for any installation or modification of heating/cooling systems, smoke control systems, hood and ventilation systems, or engineered water heater/heating appliance vents.

Plans shall be filed with and approved by the Department (as an HVAC Plan Check) before any permit is issued for work listed below is started:

  • Installations where the aggregate BTU/H input capacity is 500,000 BTU/H (2299.3 L/W) and over, for comfort heating, or for comfort-cooling, or for absorption units for commercial applications
  • Installations where the system BTU/H input capacity is 500,000 BTU/H (2299.3 L/W) and over for comfort heating, or for comfort cooling, or for absorption units for residential applications
  • Smoke-control systems
  • Any comfort-cooling compressor or refrigeration compressor for any system which contains any Group B refrigerant
  • Any commercial cooking hood and ventilation system
  • Product conveying ventilation systems
  • Engineered water heater/heating appliance vents

For more information on the Plan Check process, visit our Regular Plan Check and Counter Plan Check pages.

See Mechanical HVAC Permit Forms & Publications

Plumbing

Plumbing Permits are required for any installation or modification of drainage systems, waste and vent systems, fuel gas piping, potable water piping, rainwater piping, lawn sprinkler system, and subsurface drainage piping on swimming pool water circulating systems.

Plans shall be filed with and approved by the Department (as a Plumbing Plan Check) before any permit is issued for work listed below:

  • Drainage systems.
  • Drainage and vent systems for a building or structure involving fixtures that discharge 217 or more drainage fixture units.
  • Drainage pumps and ejectors.
  • Combination waste and vent systems.
  • Fuel gas piping with any of the following:
    • Systems having more than 10 outlets.
    • Medium pressure gas systems.
    • High pressure gas systems.
    • Methane gas extraction systems.
  • Potable water piping with any of the following:
    • Systems requiring a 2-inch or larger supply.
    • Systems designed from the procedure in Section 610.5 of the Uniform Plumbing Code.
    • Exception: Plan check is not required for existing systems, that are added to or altered, with branch lines that serve less than 20 fixture units and sized by Table 6-4.
  • Rainwater piping systems with more than 10 interconnected rainwater or overflow drains, or a rainwater pump.
  • Special water piping systems for reclaimed water piping.
  • Lawn sprinkler systems required for irrigation of cut-and-fill slopes in hillside areas.
  • Subsurface drainage piping.
  • Swimming pool circulating water systems.
See Plumbing Permit Forms & Publications

Disabled Access

Plans submitted for new construction or alteration to an apartment and/or commercial building for a building permit will also be separately reviewed for disabled access and accessibility.

See Disabled Access Forms & Publications

Green Building

Plans submitted for all new construction, addition, alteration that increase the building's conditioned volume, or alteration with a valuation greater than $200,000 for a building permit will also be separately reviewed for compliance to the Green Building Code. For building plans being submitted to regular plan check, please provide an additional set of plans. This additional set of plans will be routed internally to the Green Building Division for plan check. Approval from the Green Building Division will be required prior to issuance of the Building Permit.

The Los Angeles Green Building Code (LAGBC) is based on the 2013 California Green Building Standards Code, commonly known as "CALGreen" that was developed and mandated by the State to attain consistency among the various jurisdictions within the State, reduce the building's energy and water use, reduce waste, and reduce the carbon footprint.

Zoning Information

Zoning is the designated identification of a property or lot that determines the allowed use, maximum height, allowable area, required yards, and any other requirements specific to the property or lot.

Research Zoning Online

Generate a Rebuild Letter (Restoration of Damaged Nonconforming Buildings)

A self-serve, online system that generates the "Rebuild Letter" to confirm rebuild-ability rights for buildings. 

To retrieve a Paid Rebuild Letter, call 3-1-1.

Generate a Zoning Information Letter (previously known as Zoning Letter)

A self-serve, online system that generates a "Zoning Information Letter" which provides ONLY the current zone information of your property. 

To retrieve a Paid Zoning Information Letter, call 3-1-1.

Request a Tax Credit Letter (pdf)

A written Verification of Zoning for California Tax Credit Allocation Committee and California Debt Limit Allocation Committee.
Instructions for obtaining a Tax Credit Letter (pdf)

Request a Zoning Determination Letter (pdf)

A written response to applicant's Zoning Code questions for projects that are not in Plan Check or Preliminary Plan Check, and do not require calculations.
Instructions for obtaining a Zoning Determination Letter (pdf)

Request a Termination of Covenant & Agreement (pdf)

To terminate Covenant & Agreements that do not change the information on the Structural Inventory in a permit or Certificate of Occupancy (e.g. number of parking spaces).
Instructions for obtaining a Termination of Covenant and Agreement (pdf)

ZIMAS (Zone Information Map Access System)

An online mapping system that displays the zoning information of parcels within the City of Los Angeles. Parcels may be searched and identified by address, legal description, street intersection, or assessor's parcel number. ZIMAS can be used to find, property lines, zoning, land use, assessed land value, case numbers and more.
 - ZIMAS Reference Guide
 - Using ZIMAS to Find Historic Preservation Information

BIO (Building Information Online)

Map-based tool that shows building information by address and parcel. Information includes zoning, permits, inspections, and code enforcement reports.

Zoning Code (from L.A.M.C.) Opens in new window

Temporary Special Events

Temporary Special Events (TSE) are a temporary change of use for a building, property, or public way for the express purpose of allowing it to be used for other than its current legal use on a very restrictive and limited basis.

Permits are required for temporary special events within the City that are not more than 5 days.

The following qualify as a TSE, provided they have a maximum duration of 5 consecutive days:

  • Temporary change of use.
  • Tents or canopies, larger than 450 square foot, on a residential property.
  • Tents or canopies, larger than 12 feet in length or width, on a commercial property.
  • Stages or platforms more than 30 inches above grade (structures higher than 30 inches intended for live loads require approved engineering prior to inspection).
  • Grandstands or bleachers.
  • Structures higher than 12 feet.
See TSE application process