Building Research Section (BRS)

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FAQs

How do I obtain an application form for a Los Angeles City Research Report?

The application form for a Los Angeles City Research Report is available on the LADBS website here, as an "Application for New General Approval or Technical Modification." (PC-STR-App.18)

What is the process to obtain a Los Angeles City Research Report for my product?

The evaluation time frame is based on the complexity of the product.  Contact the Building Research Section for the current status.

The process to obtain a Los Angeles City Research Report consists of the following steps:

  1. Determine if a LARR is required or not, using the Information Bulletin P/BC 2014-119
  2. Submit the following information to the Los Angeles City Department of Building and Safety Building Research Section:
    1. Product literature describing how your product is to be used
    2. Substantiating data (i.e. test reports by approved 3rd party testing agency, engineering analysis)
    3. A completed application form for new LARR (PC-STR.App18)
    4. A check in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank.
  3. Once this information is received, your application package will be reviewed for completeness. If any deficiencies are determined, a letter will be sent to the applicant stating the deficiencies requiring correction or completeness.
  4. After determining the application package is complete, the application will be logged in and assigned a log number and placed in line for review.
  5. The substantiating data submitted will be evaluated to determine if it is at least the equivalent of the prescribed device, material, or method of construction specified by the Los Angeles City Building Code in terms of quality, effective time period of fire resistance, strength, effectiveness, durability, and safety.
  6. After reviewing the substantiating data, the research engineer assigned to the application will write a letter stating their comments and the information needed to complete the evaluation, if necessary.
  7. Upon resolution of all comments, a draft copy of the Los Angeles City Research Report will be written. The draft copy of the Research Report will be e-mailed to the applicant for their review and comments. In addition, a supplemental fee will be sent to the applicant to bill the additional reviewing hours for the report approval beyond the first 6 hours. 
  8. After all comments from the applicant have been resolved and the supplemental fee has been paid by the applicant, the Research Report will be submitted to the Chief of the Building Research Section for final review and approval. A signed copy of the Los Angeles City Research Report will be mailed to the applicant and will also be posted on the LADBS website under "LA Research Reports".

What does the “Code Date” listed on the Los Angeles Research Report mean?

The Code Date stated on a Research Report (upper right corner on 1st page of Research Report) identifies which Los Angeles Building Code (LABC) edition the product specified in the research report is approved for. Building projects and LARR approved products shall have the same Code Date. For example, projects submitted to plan check between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2013 must use products approved under the 2011 LABC.

How long does it take to obtain a Los Angeles City Research Report? Can the process be expedited?

Our goal is to assign an application in approximately 5 weeks to one of our engineers and an additional 3-7 weeks (depending on the complexity of the submittal) for the evaluation to be completed, a draft copy of the research report to be written, and the final copy of the research report signed. If the substantiating data is incomplete, such as missing test reports, testing not conducted by an approved testing agency, incomplete or missing engineering calculations, etc., the time to obtain a Los Angeles City Research Report may take longer. 

Expedite report review is available pursuant to section 98.0422 of the Los Angeles City Municipal Code. The amount of the fee for this service is in addition to the normal review fee and is equal to one-half of the review fee.

The intent of the expedite service is to reduce the time to assign your application from approximately 5-weeks to 2- weeks. 

For an estimate of the current assignment time for the expediting service you may call the Building Research Section at (213) 202-9812.

What is a One-Time Approval and how do I apply for one?

Exceptions for products without proper approval are considered by the Structural Plan Check Division.  See your plan checker and plan check supervisor regarding the process and fees required for an administrative approval.

How can I renew my Los Angeles City Research Report?

Complete the "Application for Renewal and Clerical Modification of General Approval form (PC-STR.App19)". Refer to "Instructions for Completing Application Forms for Research Reports (LARR) and Research Report Fees" for instructions.

The fee is listed on the application based on the type of product approval previously obtained. The renewal application extends the expiration date of the approval form the previous reevaluation due date listed on the current approval.

Who can apply for a Los Angeles City Research Report?

Los Angeles Research Reports may be issued to an entity/company with the legal right to the product and the accompanying Technical Test Reports and Engineering Assessment.  Test Reports shall bear the name of the applicant, unless a release letter accompanies the test report(s).

Can I use testing conducted by our testing facility (in-house test lab)?

For General Approval – City of Los Angeles only:

Testing must be witnessed by an independent third party Testing Agency approved by the Los Angeles City, Department of Building and Safety (LADBS). ). The Approved Testing Agency shall issue the test report. The Approved Testing Agency shall approve the testing facility where the testing occurs to meet the requirements as specified in the "Rules and Regulations for Recognition of Testing Agencies" (Information Bulletin P/GI 2014-028) PDF.

For Research Reports based on an Evaluation Report from a nationally recognized model code agency:

Test reports shall come from a qualified testing agency approved by the Model Code Agency issuing the Evaluation Report.  The approved testing agency shall take necessary steps to ensure that the integrity and condition of the test specimens are maintained and are not altered during periods when a laboratory representative is not present. Also, the manufacturer’s testing facility shall show to the satisfaction of the approved testing agency that it meets the requirements for an approved testing agency.

I have a Los Angeles City Research Report (LARR) based on a Nationally Recognized Model Code Agency Evaluation Report. Is my Los Angeles City Research Report Approved for the Current Los Angeles City Building Code (LABC)?

Your products are approved for the Code version only listed on both the Evaluation Report and the LARR approval letter.  If either product approval document does not list the current version of the Building Code, you will need to have these updated.  Any revision to the report must be submitted to this Department for review with appropriate fee to continue the approval of the report.

I have a Los Angeles City Research Report (LARR). How do I know if my approval is applicable to the current code?

The LARR may be used only for projects permitted under the Code version specified on the LARR.  To update the LARR to the Current LABC, when there are no changes to the existing products nor to any code requirements regarding your product, you may file an "Application for Renewal/Clerical Modification" (PC-STR.App19).  For Product Approvals that expire within 12 months, submit the fee for a Renewal and the approval will be updated during as it is renewed.  For Products that do not expire within 12 months of the time of application, pay the clerical modification fee and check the respective box.

For LARR’s based on a Model Code Agency Evaluation Report: the LARR cannot be updated unless the Evaluation Report specifies the corresponding Code Edition; ensure the Evaluation Report is Updated before filing to update your LARR.  If additional products are added to the approval, or changes to the existing products have been made, or if additional testing or analysis is required due to code changes, you must file an "Application for Technical Modification" (PC-STR.App18). A Separate Renewal Application will need to be submitted if the LARR is scheduled to expire soon.

Los Angeles City Research Reports are allowed to be based on an Evaluation Report from a Nationally Recognized Model Code Agency. Who are Nationally Recognized Model Code Agencies currently accepted by LADBS Building Research Section?

Section III of Alternate Building Materials Products Approval Requirements (IB-P-BC2014-119) specifies the qualifications that Nationally Recognized Model Code Agency must meet for their Evaluation Report to be used as a basis for a Los Angeles City Research Report.

Currently, Evaluation Reports from the International Code Council Evaluation Services (ICC-ES) and, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials Uniform Evaluation Service (IAPMO UES) may be used as a basis for a Los Angeles City Research Report.

I have a technical change I want to include to my Los Angeles City Research Report and I also need to renew my current Research Report. What are the fees and what forms do I need to fill out?

Two forms must be completed together:

Each form shall be processed separately with each its respective fee, specified on each application.  One check may be made for the total or separate checks may be sent with each application.