Electrical Test Lab (ETL)

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FAQs

Does electrical equipment require approval by the City of Los Angeles Building and Safety Electrical Testing Laboratory (LADBS-ETL)?

No, it does not if the electrical equipment is already tested and listed according to approved recognized national safety (RNS) standards and labeled by a recognized (approved) testing agency such as Underwriters Laboratory, Canadian Standards Association, FM Approvals LLC, Intertek Testing Services NA, Inc., and TUV America Inc., etc.

If the equipment is not already tested and listed, or if it is only tested and listed according to manufacturer standards, or if it is not code compliant or identified as required by the electrical code, then it needs to be retested according to RNS standards, and comply with California Electrical Code, and City of Los Angeles Electrical Code requirements by the LADBS-ETL or any other recognized testing agency.

What are different approvals I can obtain from LADBS-ETL?

The LADBS-ETL offers three different types of approvals:

  1. Laboratory Approval – This approval is intended for mass produced electrical products by manufacturers.
  2. Field One-Time Approval – This approval is intended for field installed products that may be one of a kind or a modified mass produced product. This type of approval is limited to the field conditions, intended for a specific job address.
  3. General Approval – This approval is intended for products that may have code violations, have no recognized national safety standards to test to, or tested only to manufacturer standards. This approval may be for mass produced products, one of kind products, or for a job at a specific address. This approval may be referred to as “Research Report”.

What is the process of obtaining LADBS-ETL Approval?

Submit the following:

  1. A completed application form (PC-ELEC-App.12). Original signature is required.
  2. Application fee as marked on application form. Make check payable to “The Department of Building and Safety, City of Los Angeles.”
  3. Current product literature (brochure, operational instruction, maintenance manual, owner’s manual).
  4. Photographs or drawings showing the exterior views and internal views of the equipment.
  5. Schematic wiring diagrams. Diagrams should identify the sizes of wires, ratings of fuses, circuit breakers, and other components.
  6. The parts list for the components operating at or above 30 VAC or 24.8 VDC in dry locations or 15 VAC or 12.4 VDC in wet locations. Include the part's function, name of manufacturer, catalog number, electrical ratings, and testing agency component recognition or listing number.
  7. Production sample of the equipment as follows:
    • For General or Laboratory Approval: Submit a current production sample (complete and operable) with all appurtenances to operate the equipment. If the equipment is too heavy or large to ship to the laboratory, arrange for a field location in the City of Los Angeles or at the factory where a complete testing can be performed without on-site restrictions (call the laboratory for a prior arrangement) and pay for the field trip charges.
    • For One-Time Approval of field installed equipment: Provide the field location where the equipment is intended to be installed insuring that it can be evaluated and tested without on-site restrictions. Provide the complete address, phone number, and contact person. Pay for the field trip charges.
  8. For equipment with unlisted transformers, drivers or power supplies with a rating of less than 1KVA, provide two samples with schematic wiring diagrams and specification sheets.

How do I obtain an application form for equipment (or conductor) approval by LADBS-ETL?

There is one application form that is used for each type of submittal (New, Renewal, Technical and Clerical Modifications, for Laboratory, General, and One-time Approvals). You can obtain this form as follows:

How long does it take to obtain LADBS-ETL approval for a product?

Depending upon the labs backlog, it would take about 10 to 15 days for a lab application, and 15 to 20 days for a General Approval (Research Report) to be assigned. After assignment, it would generally take about one to two weeks to get a response. The overall completion of the evaluation and approval depends on the applicant. If the applicant is able to provide a test sample for initial and subsequent reevaluation, submit all the required information and documentations through the evaluation process, the complete process including the test lab evaluation and testing would generally be between 1 to 5 months to get an approval.

Who can apply for approval?

Equipment manufacturer or equipment distributor (for general or one-time approval) and end user of the equipment (for one-time approval) can apply for equipment approval.

How long is the approval good for, and where do I find it?

The general and laboratory approval is good for 12 months. The product approval letter indicates the duration and expiration date of the approved product.

One-time approval is good for the duration where the equipment is installed, provided that the equipment is not modified or relocated to another location in or outside of the building or facility.

Can I expedite the review process?

Yes. Pursuant to section 98.0422 of the Los Angeles City Municipal Code, expedite review process is available for the amount of the fee equal to one-half of the review fee, in addition to the normal review fee.

How can an approval be renewed?

Only products that have either a Laboratory or General Approval (no one-time approvals) may be subject to annual renewal. About 60 days before an approval expires, the original applicant needs to take the following actions:

  1. Submit a completed renewal application form (PC-ELEC-App.12). Original signature is required.
  2. Submit the application fee as marked on the application form. Make check payable to “The Department of Building and Safety, City of Los Angeles.”
  3. Submit a current production sample of the equipment along with an explanation if there were any changes to the equipment from the previous approval.

Is approved equipment or conductor required to have an approval label, and if so, how one can get one?

All equipment approved by LADBS-ETL, with some exceptions for some of the equipment that have General Approvals, are required to bear the approval label of LADBS-ETL. This approval label would be different from equipment that is approved under Laboratory or General Approval vs. Field one-time approval.

For equipment that has Laboratory Approval or General Approval, the applicant is required to submit the following:

  1. A completed label application form (PC-ELEC-App.12). Original signature is required.
  2. Indicate the quantity of equipment that will be manufactured during the approval period.
  3. Indicate the quantity of labels.
  4. Application fee as determined based on unit fee cost for each label. Make check payable to “The Department of Building and Safety, City of Los Angeles.”

For equipment that has a Field one-time approval, the applicant is not required to submit a label application form. The test lab personnel will apply the approval label on the equipment in the field once approval is issued.

How do I know if the equipment is still approved?

Make sure that the equipment approval has not expired by checking the equipment approval letter. Each letter has an approval and expiration date that is indicated on the top right hand of the letter.

How do I know what models of equipment are approved?

Check the equipment approval letter. Every approval letter indicates the models that are included. You may check the approval letters on the "LA Research Reports" page.

What is an approved recognized electrical testing agency? And what testing agencies are approved?

An approved recognized electrical testing agency is a testing agency that obtains approval from the Department of Building and Safety to perform testing and listing and field evaluation. A list of these recognized testing agencies are posted on the LADBS web as follows on the "Electrical Test Lab (ETL)" page:

Can I use testing conducted within our testing facility (in-house test lab) to obtain equipment approval?

No. Unless it is part of equipment approval by the LADBS-ETL with prior approval, provided that the testing is witnessed by the LADBS-ETL and the test program and equipment have already been approved by the LADBS-ETL.

What I need to do to add other models to my approval?

Addition of a model to an existing approval requires submittal of Technical Modification. You need to perform the following steps:

  1. Submit a completed Technical Modification application form (PC-ELEC-App.12). Original signature is required.
  2. Submit the application fee as marked on the application form. Make check payable to “The Department of Building and Safety, City of Los Angeles.”
  3. Submit a current production sample of the new equipment model. d. Provide a current new model product literature (brochure, operational instruction, maintenance manual, owner’s manual).
  4. Photographs or drawings showing the exterior views and internal views of the new equipment.
  5. Schematic wiring diagrams. Diagrams should identify the sizes of wires, ratings of fuses, circuit breakers, and other components.
  6. The parts list for the components operating at or above 30 VAC or 24.8 VDC in dry locations or 15 VAC or 12.4 VDC in wet locations. Include the part's function, name of manufacturer, catalog number, electrical ratings, and testing agency component recognition or listing number.
  7. For new model with unlisted transformers, drivers or power supplies with a rating of less than 1KVA, provide two samples with schematic wiring diagrams and specification sheets.

What I need to do to maintain my approval if I modify my equipment during the approval period?

The steps are the same as regular approval, as follows:

Submit the following:

  1. A completed application form (PC-ELEC-App.12). Original signature is required.
  2. Application fee as marked on application form. Make check payable to “The Department of Building and Safety, City of Los Angeles.”
  3. Current product literature (brochure, operational instruction, maintenance manual, owner’s manual).
  4. Photographs or drawings showing the exterior views and internal views of the equipment.
  5. Schematic wiring diagrams. Diagrams should identify the sizes of wires, ratings of fuses, circuit breakers, and other components.
  6. The parts list for the components operating at or above 30 VAC or 24.8 VDC in dry locations or 15 VAC or 12.4 VDC in wet locations. Include the part's function, name of manufacturer, catalog number, electrical ratings, and testing agency component recognition or listing number.
  7. Production sample of the equipment as follows:
    • For General or Laboratory Approval: Submit a current production sample (complete and operable) with all appurtenances to operate the equipment. If the equipment is too heavy or large to ship to the laboratory, arrange for a field location in the City of Los Angeles or at the factory where a complete testing can be performed without on-site restrictions (call the laboratory for a prior arrangement) and pay for the field trip charges.
    • For One-Time Approval of field installed equipment: Provide the field location where the equipment is intended to be installed insuring that it can be evaluated and tested without on-site restrictions. Provide the complete address, phone number, and contact person. Pay for the field trip charges.
  8. For equipment with unlisted transformers, drivers or power supplies with a rating of less than 1KVA, provide two samples with schematic wiring diagrams and specification sheets.

However, the revised approval may require a new model designation of the previous product and the approval would be for the duration that was originally established for the equipment.

Who can apply to the City to become a recognized electrical test lab?

What I need to do in order to change the model designation, or other non-technical changes to my approval?

You need to file for a Clerical Modification approval. You need to perform the following steps:

  1. Submit a completed Clerical Modification application form (PC-STR-App.19). Original signature is required.
  2. Submit the application fee as marked on the application form. Make check payable to “The Department of Building and Safety, City of Los Angeles.”

Do all approvals have “Conditions of Approval?”

No. Only General Approvals (Research Reports), and some Laboratory Approvals have Conditions of Approval.

What equipment that is listed by a recognized testing agency is acceptable?

Listed or field evaluated equipment that are tested and listed or field evaluated according to recognized standards as specified for each testing agency are considered as acceptable. You can find these standards as follows on our "Electrical Test Lab (ETL)" page under "Publications":