Frequently Asked Questions

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Note: Projects submitted after January 1, 2017 must comply with the 2017 LA City Codes. See all updated documents on the 2017 Code Documents page.

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Permit

How do I obtain a permit?

Depending on the size of your project, you can get your permit online, by appointment, or at the counter of a Development Services Center

For simple projects where plan review is not required, you may obtain an Express Permit online or walk-in at a Development Services Center.

For medium to large projects where a plan review is required, you can get a Counter Plan Check on a walk-in basis at a Development Services Center.

For complex and major projects, call 3-1-1 for assistance.

What is E-Permit?

Also known as an Online Permit or Express Permit, e-permit is a service we provide to expedite less complex permit types. Obtain permits on our website through Online Services or see a list of available online permits on our Express Permit page.

When is a permit required?

Permits are issued for many different types of work, including Building, Electrical and Plumbing just to name a few. Please visit each our Plan Check & Permit page for more information about when a permit is required.

If you have a specific question on whether the work you are performing requires a permit, please feel free to call 3-1-1 for further assistance.

How much will my permit & plan check cost?

The Permit Fee Calculator is an online service that can assist in permit fee calculations. 

You can also review the LADBS Fee Schedule page for further information.

How long is a permit good for?

A permit expires

  1. In two years from the date of its issuance
  2. If no work has been started within six months from its issuance
  3. Work has started but stopped for over six months.

However, within 30 days of its expiration, an extension of time to extend a permit may be filed with the Department using either modification Request for Modification Form 41a or Request for Modification Form 42 . The request shall be filed with the inspection district supervisor if no work has been started. If the permit has expired and the work has started, the request shall be filed with any plan check office.

Can I, as a homeowner, apply for a construction permit?

A homeowner can obtain a permit and do the construction, alteration or repair on his/her house and accessory buildings or facilities thereto, if the owner resides or will reside in the dwelling.

Read more on our "About the Construction Process" page.

Do I need a permit to build a fence around my property?

A permit is not required for any type of fence under 3'6" in height.

A permit is required for a masonry or concrete fence over 3'6" in height, and for a fence of any other material over 10'0" in height. 

Please note that even though a permit may not be required, all fences must comply with the requirements of the LA Zoning Code.

What is the allowable fence height?

In most residential areas, fences are limited to 3'-6" in height in the front yard and 6'-0 in the side and rear yards. 

Depending on lot size and location, the height limit may be increased to 8'-0 for the side and rear yards. The regulations can be found in Section 12 22 C 20 (f) of the LA Zoning Code.

Do I need a permit to change to a low-consumption toilet in my house?

No, when done as part of the City's "Water Conservation Retrofit Program" pursuant to the City's Water Conservation regulations. 

However, a non owner-occupied single family dwelling requires a permit obtained by a licensed plumbing contractor.

Is a permit required to install a domestic cooking range, broiler unit, or domestic-type clothes dryer in my single-family dwelling unit?

No.

Is heating required in a dwelling unit?

Yes. The space must be able to be maintained at a room temperature of 70 degrees F, 3 feet above the floor in all habitable areas.

I want to enlarge my house, how do I apply for a building permit?

A complete set of plans showing the proposed work is brought into the Department, likely as a Counter Plan Check. A permit is issued after the plan are reviewed and approved by our plan check engineers. A complete set of plans includes:

  • Site Plan
  • Floor Plan
  • Roof Plan
  • Elevation of the building
  • Section of the building
  • Framing Plan
  • Foundation Plan
  • Architectural and Structural Details Plan

What is involved in the building permit process?

  1. Applicant submits plans to LADBS, if plan check is required
  2. LADBS reviews plans and issues corrections, and mandates separate City and County approvals as needed
  3. Applicant corrects plans
  4. LADBS verifies corrections, and issues permit
  5. Applicant starts construction after permit is issued
  6. As construction progress, applicant requests inspections from LADBS before work is covered.
  7. LADBS inspects construction.
  8. After approval of all construction and final inspection, LADBS issues Certificate of Occupancy to applicant.
View our handy permit process flow diagram PDF for more details.

What is the Guaranteed Express Permit Program?

LADBS offers a money-back guarantee on Express Permit times. If a walk-in customer waits longer than 30 minutes for service to begin, or if the customer waits longer than 60 minutes for the processing of the permit from the time that service begins, then the permit fee is waived.

Is a permit required for installing any portable ventilating, comfort-cooling, or evaporative cooler equipment?

No.

Is a plumbing permit required to replace my gas water heater in my single family dwelling unit?

Yes, unless the work is performed by a contractor that holds a valid Certificate of Registration from LADBS as a Certified Licensed Contractor (CLC). 

The CLC is limited to the replacement of a water heater of equivalent capacity in gallons, BTU rating, and vent capacity.

Is a plumbing permit required to replace my residential garbage disposer?

No.

When is a plumbing permit required for natural gas piping?

A plumbing permit is required for the installation of any gas piping, except piping less than 6 feet in length between an existing gas outlet and a gas appliance in the same room.

What if my project doesn't conform to code?

If it is a building code issue, you may file a request for modification. Please refer to the Request for Modification (Mod.00) form for reference. In approving such a request, the Department needs to determine that the slight modification is reasonably equivalent to the ordinance requirement involved, that a special individual reason makes the strict letter of the ordinance impractical, and that the slight modification is in conformity with the spirit and purpose of the Code involved.

If the request is denied by the Department, it may be appealed to the Board of Building and Safety Commissioners.

If it is a Planning Code issue, this Department can only review and act on items stipulated in Section 12.26, specifically, yard variances not exceeding 20% of the required yard and parking facility design as published in Sec. 12.21A5. (Reprint from Planning Code Section 12.26). All other request for changes from the Planning Code shall be filed with the Planning Department.

What are the building permit fees based on?

Building permit fees are calculated based on the valuation of the project. Please refer to the Los Angeles City Building Code section 91.107 , or call our Customer Call Center at 3-1-1 for assistance.

Plan Check

What is a plan check?

Plan check is when your building plans are reviewed to make sure they comply with basic safety, engineering and planning rules. LADBS plan check engineers will review the design of such things as the structure, plumbing and electrical systems to make sure they are safe and properly designed. They will also look at other items, like building setbacks, heights and lot coverage to see that the construction is compatible with the neighborhood.

Plan check is part of the permit process. If your project disqualifies you from directly receiving an Express Permit, you will need to have a plan check. If it's a small project, a Counter Plan Check will suffice. If it's a large project, you might need to have a Regular Plan Check, where your plans are submitted and reviewed over the period of several weeks.

When is plan check required?

Projects that qualify for Express Permit do not require plan checks. Other plan checks, including plan checks by other City departments, county and state agencies may also be required for the work being performed.

How do I get my plans checked?

For small to medium projects, you may visit the Metro (Downtown), Van Nuys, and West LA offices on a walk-in basis for a Counter Plan Check. Your plans are reviewed same day, in about 45-60 minutes

For large, complex projects, plans are sent in for a Regular Plan Check and reviewed within weeks.

For major developer projects, the design and permit process are allowed concurrently, in the Parallel Design - Permitting Process.

How long is a plan check application good for?

Plan check applications expire 18 months after the plan check fees are paid. However, within 30 days of its expiration, an extension of time to extend a permit application may be filed with the Department using a Request for Modification of Building Ordinances. The request may be filed with any Plan Check office, preferably with the office where the plan was reviewed. A fee shall accompany each request.

How many sets of plans do I need at the time of filing for plan check, and at permit issuance?

At the time of filing:

  1. For single family or duplex submittal, one set if the job is not in a hillside area, and two sets if it is.
  2. For apartment or commercial project submittal, two sets of plans are required. If it is a Title 19 project, a third set is required for Fire Department review.
At permit issuance
  1. For residential project permit issuance, two sets of plans if the job is not in a hillside area, and three sets if it is.
  2. For commercial project permit issuance, two sets of plans are required.

Can a homeowner prepare the drawings, obtain a building permit, & construct my own house or addition, without consulting an architect/engineer/contractor?

Yes, if the house is one story and will be built from plans based on the Department standard "Wood Frame Prescriptive Provisions One Story Residential Construction Only."

How are changes to approved plans during construction handled by the department?

Generally speaking, any changes to Department-approved plans shall be approved by the plan review engineer who reviewed and issued the permit. 

Sometimes, the changes can be handled over the counter on the same day it is brought in; other times, the changes may need to be resubmitted for further review with an additional plan review fee. In either case, it is always a good idea to first call the plan review engineer who issued the permit and ask for his/her help.

What is the current status of my plan check?

Call 3-1-1 to find out the current status of your plan check.

Inspection

What is an inspection?

All construction work for which a permit is required shall be subject to inspection by authorized inspectors. An inspection must be performed before work is concealed or covered. It is your responsibility to notify the inspector when the work is ready for inspection. Work is generally inspected and approved in succession and no work may continue beyond the point indicated in each successive inspection without first obtaining the approval of the inspector. 

Common items to be inspected are foundation excavations, concrete work, wood framing, ventilation equipment, plumbing, electrical, shear wall nailing, roof nailing etc. When completed, there shall be a final inspection and approval of the completed project.

When do I call for an inspection?

Once you obtain a permit, you can commence with the work. However, you must call for inspection before you cover or conceal any work. If you are unsure of when to call for inspection, please contact our Customer Call Center at 3-1-1.

How do I schedule for an inspection?

When the work is ready, request an inspection using one of three options:

  1. Request an inspection online using our Request For Inspection system. Requests made before 4:00 pm can be scheduled for the next business day.
  2. Dial 888-LA4-BUILD / (888)-524-2845 for inside Los Angeles County or (213) 482-0000 for outside Los Angeles County and choose Option 1 to request an inspection using our Automated Inspection Request System. The AIRS Sequence Chart is helpful to have when using our Automated Inspection Request System (AIRS)
  3. Dial 3-1-1 for inside L.A. County or (213) 473-3231 for outside L.A. County. Automated inspection requests may be made anytime (except between 2:00 am and 3:00 am). Requests made before 4:00 pm can be scheduled for the next business day. When calling for an inspection you will need to know the permit number, the site address, and type of inspection needed. To request an inspection for the next business day with one of our staff members, you must call in prior to 4:00 p.m. Automated inspection request systems will accept next day inspections prior to 4:00 p.m. We will attempt to contact you on the morning of the inspection.

For requests of four (4) or more seismic gas shut off valve inspections, please complete the Seismic Gas Shut Off Valve Inspection Request Form. To schedule fewer than four (4) seismic gas shut off valve inspections, please call 3-1-1 for inside Los Angeles County or (213) 473-3231 for outside Los Angeles County.

Deputy Inspection Notification

Deputy Inspection notification may be made by calling 3-1-1 or by completing a Deputy Fax Notification form and faxing it to (213) 482-6838 or 6839 by 3:30 pm one working day before the day of the inspection. Deputy Inspection Notification is not currently available on the Automated Inspection Request form.

Can I request an inspection for tomorrow?

You can request an inspection for the next business day, as long as the request is made before 4:00 pm.

Can I request an inspection for any permit & do I need to register beforehand?

You can request an inspection for any permit, regardless of whether it was obtained at an LADBS Development Services Center or on the Internet via e-Permit

Registration is not required to request an inspection, however, if you are already logged in as an e-Permit user, you do not have to log out to request an inspection.

Why are there only three days available for scheduling inspections?

The automated inspection request systems allow inspections to be requested only three days in advance. Call the Customer Call Center at 3-1-1 if you need to request an inspection more than three days in advance.

What types of inspections does LADBS provide?

LADBS provides the following types of inspections:

  • Residential
  • Building
  • Electrical
  • Elevator / Pressure Vessel
  • Fire Sprinkler
  • Grading
  • Mechanical
  • Plumbing
  • Sign
  • Green Building
  • Annual Inspection
  • Haul Route Violation
Refer to our "Types of Inspections page" to see more detail.

Can I select more than one inspection type?

Yes. You may select as many inspection types as you wish. Please limit your selection(s) to work that is ready to be inspected.

If the inspection I would like to request is not listed, what do I do?

Select the inspection that most closely matches the type of inspection you want to request. 

When in doubt, select the "rough..." inspection and place a message in the ‘Comments’ section. Alternatively, you may contact the Customer Call Center by dialing 3-1-1 or (866) 4LA-CITY/(866) 452-2489 within L.A. County or (213) 473-3231 outside L.A. County.

Can I cancel, reschedule or correct an inspection requested through the internet?

No, contact the Customer Call Center at 3-1-1 for assistance.

If I make a mistake when entering my inspection type or contact information, can I correct it?

Mistakes can be corrected on the page before clicking the "Continue" button, by highlighting the area to be corrected and retyping the information. Once "Continue" has been pressed, no changes can be made. 

For assistance, contact the Customer Call Center at 3-1-1.

How do I cancel or re-schedule an inspection?

To cancel or re-schedule an inspection, please contact our Customer Call Center through the following numbers: 3-1-1 or (866) 4LA-CITY / (866) 452-2489 within Los Angeles County. If you are outside Los Angeles County, you may call (213) 473-3231.

When calling, you will need to know the permit number and the site address.

How long do I have to obtain a plumbing permit once work has commenced in order to avoid any LADBS fines?

You have until 12:00 noon of the third day that LADBS is open for public business.

What is Extra Inspection Trip Payment?

"Extra Inspection Trip Payment" is an online service offered by LADBS to provide its customers the capability to pay extra inspection trip fees via the e-Permit system, when an inspection is scheduled but cannot be performed due to customer error.

Customers can pay for "Extra Inspection Trip" fees through Online Services.

What do I need at the time of inspection?

At the time of inspection, make sure the following are available on-site: 

  • A copy of the permit
  • Approved plans if plan review was required
  • The Building Card issued at the time of permit issuance (this is applicable to Building Permits only)
  •  Any equipment needed to do the inspection, such as a ladder.

I get an error message when I try to request my fire sprinkler, elevator, or pressure vessel inspections. Can I use the internet to request these types of inspection?

No. You must contact the inspector directly to request these types of inspections. You may obtain the inspector’s telephone number by contacting the Customer Call Center at 3-1-1 during business hours (8:00 am to 4:45 pm) or referring to our "Employee Directory" page.

I get an error message when I enter the permit number which is not a Fire Sprinkler, Elevator, or Pressure Vessel Permit. Why can't I request an inspection?

There are three reasons why you might get this error:

  1. You may not have a valid permit number
  2. Your permit number is correct but the permit has not been issued
  3. A ‘hold’ has been placed on the permit.
If you know your permit number is correct and feel that you should be able to request an inspection and are unable to do so, please contact the Customer Call Center at 3-1-1 for assistance.

What is the Certificate of Occupancy?

A Certificate of Occupancy is issued pursuant to a building permit for new construction, additions, and changes of occupancy after all the necessary construction has been approved by the inspector. It is evidence that the Department of Building and Safety has determined that the construction was done according to the requirements of the code for the given occupancy to be housed in the building.

Code Enforcement

What is LADBS Code Enforcement?

The aim of LADBS Code Enforcement is to preserve and enhance the safety, appearance and economic stability of our community through the diligent enforcement of applicable ordinances and land use regulations. It maintains Los Angeles Municipal Codes (LAMC) by issuing an Order to Comply (OTC) to the property owner and any other person in control of a property who violates or causes or permits another person to violate any provision or requirement of the LAMC.

The OTC is essentially a warning letter with a time frame for voluntary compliance. The OTC describes the violation(s), instructions to remedy the violation(s) and warnings of possible penalty fees and criminal prosecution. Violation of the LAMC is a misdemeanor and code enforcement cases must therefore be prepared for the possibility of being resolved in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Read more about LADBS Code Enforcement.

How do I report a problem in my neighborhood?

Building and Safety addresses issues for single-family residential, commercial, industrial and vacant buildings inside the City of Los Angeles. You can report a code violation online, or call 3-1-1 to request an investigation.

What do I do if I receive an Order To Comply?

When you receive an Order To Comply (OTC) stating that your property violates Code, read the order carefully to identify which items:

  • require a permit
  • find contact information for the inspector or supervisor
  • determine what fees maybe applied and penalties if not paid on time
  • determine appeal procedures

The current property owner is responsible for complying with the Order, even if previous owners or tenants have performed the un-permitted work or created the violation.

Refer to the Obtaining Permits to Resolve Orders (.pdf) information bulletin for more detail.

What do I do if I receive an Order To Comply in error?

There could be many reasons why you received an Order To Comply. Do not dismiss it as an error. 

Contact the issuing Inspector so the necessary corrections can be completed, if needed. This helps avoid future fees and enforcement.

What do I do once I comply with the Order To Comply?

Call the Inspector immediately to schedule an inspection to avoid any non-compliance fees.

What if I disagree with the violations on the Order To Comply?

If you disagree on how the code is being applied to your specific situation, discuss the matter with the Inspector or the Inspector's immediate supervisor.

If the issue is not resolved, you have the right to Appeal to the Board of Building and Safety Commissioners. Further information on Appeal rights are on the Order.

How do I pay a code enforcement fee?

Building and Safety's Financial Services section should have sent an invoice to the person(s) responsible for the fee. If you believe you have fees due, contact the Inspector or the Inspector's supervisor for confirmation.

What do I do when I receive a non-compliance warning letter?

The letter is sent out as a reminder that the recipient of the order is required to comply with the violations, and to call the Inspector for an inspection before the compliance date on the letter. 

If you can not comply by the date, call the Inspector for further options specific to your situation.

What do I do if I cannot finish the work before the compliance date?

Several options are available. Talk to your Inspector to determine the best option for your particular situation.

How do I see what is happening to a property I reported?

You can review the past and present activity on a particular property with our free online Permit and Inspection Report. It shows both Permit activity and Code Enforcement activity.

Zoning

What is the Zoning Code Manual?

The Zoning Code Manual and Commentary PDF is an interpretation of the Zoning code. It is a useful tool to answer more specific questions regarding Zoning.

How big, and how high, can I build my house or room addition?

The requirements are different depending on factors such as the zone of the lot and its location. For example, lots in hillside areas are subject to different regulations when compared to the flat areas of the City. Moreover, there are certain ordinances that designate Specific Plan areas in the City that have their own set of requirements. Please visit a Concierge Desk, visit an LADBS location, or call 3-1-1 for more assistance.

How can I determine what the zone of my property is?

Zoning Information for a particular property can be obtained by:

What is a prevailing setback?

A prevailing setback is a calculation used to determine minimum distance construction can be from the front property line, essentially a front yard measurement. An online Yard Setback Calculator is provided to assist in determining this complex calculation.

Data & Records

How do I get official LADBS property records?

Many building records can be researched online.

You may also obtain copies of these documents in person at our following locations:

Downtown LA - Metro
201 N. Figueroa St.
1st Floor, Room 110
Van Nuys
6262 Van Nuys Blvd
2nd Floor, Room 251
You may find it saves time to fill out the Research Request Form (.pdf) before visiting an LADBS office.

 

By Mail

The Metro and Van Nuys offices accept requests for records (Research Request Form (.pdf)) by fax and/or mail. (Please allow 7 - 15 working days for processing). The following mailing addresses are:

Downtown LA - Metro

Department of Building and Safety
Building Records Section
201 N. Figueroa St
1st Floor, Room 110
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Fax # (213) 482-6862

Van Nuys


Department of Building and Safety
Building Records Section
6262 Van Nuys Blvd
2nd Floor, Room 251
Van Nuys, CA 91401

Fax # (818) 374-5013


The Metro and Van Nuys offices also provide training for individuals who wish to learn how to research for high volume jobs.

To schedule for training at the Metro office on Tuesday only, please call (213) 482-6899 or at the Van Nuys office on Wednesday only, please call (818) 374-4390.

How do I make a request for LADBS permit data & records?

Find all the forms to make a data request on our Service Requests forms page.

The areas that provide records include the Plan Check and Inspection System (PCIS) and Code Enforcement Information System (CEIS).

The forms package includes:

  • Request to Purchase PCIS/CofO/CEIS Data
  • Instructions for Obtaining PCIS/CofO/CEIS data
  • Record layout for Building Permit data from PCIS
  • Record Layout for Building Permit Data with CofO Data from PCIS
  • Record Layout for Mechanical and Electrical Permit Data from PCIS
  • Record Layout for Code Enforcement Cases from CEIS
  • Record Layout for Customer Service Request from CEIS
  • Refunds

    What form do I use for refunds?

    Claim for Refunds must be prepared on the Department of Building and Safety Claim for Refund form (MISC-Form.01). You may also use the "City of Los Angeles Claim For Refund" form (Form Gen 64).

    What do I need to attach to my refund?

    You will need to attach your original cash register receipt and your application or permit copy containing the original cash register validation. If you do not attach your original receipt and application or permit, an affidavit stating why you cannot submit the originals, signed by you and notarized, will be accepted. However, if you submit an affidavit in lieu of receipts, you will also be required to submit a copy, front and back of your canceled check or other proof of payment. Your claim will NOT be processed without these documents.

    Where do I file the refund?

    Your completed refund form and attached documents can be filed at any Office of the City Clerk or mailed to:

    City Clerk
    Room 395, City Hall
    200 N. Spring St.
    Los Angeles, CA 90012-4869

    You may also submit your refund form at any Department of Building & Safety cashier counter.  The cashier will then forward the claim to the City Clerk's Office.

    How long do I have to file a claim?

    A claim for refund of fees paid to the Department of Building and Safety must be filed:

    1. Within one year from the date of payment of the fee (L.A.M.C. Section 22.12 & 22.13)
    2. Within one year from the date of expiration of extensions on building or grading permits granted by the Department of Building and Safety (L.A.M.C. Section 98.0420).

    What will be refunded?

    Refunds will be made on fees where no work has been performed for which the fee, application, permit or appeal was required, provided that the City has not made any physical inspection or review or conducted any hearing, conducted any test, or done any similar work. Under these conditions, 80% of the fees paid will be refunded (20% is retained to cover clerical and administrative costs).

    If a valuation on a building permit was reduced, 100% of the difference will be refunded.

    If a Department of Building & Safety error was made in issuing the application, 100% of the fees paid will be refunded.

    What happens to my refund claim?

    1. The City Clerk's office will assign a number, date stamp and log in your claim. They will then send it to Building and Safety, Financial Services for review.
    2. Financial Services staff will also log it in. The refund will be forwarded to the applicable division for refund recommendation. For example, if the refund is for a building permit, requests will be sent to our Plan Check Engineers and our Building Inspectors. Our Department staff will review the refund requests and make appropriate recommendations. These recommendations will be sent back to Financial Services.
    3. Financial Services staff will complete the audit on the claim, make the necessary calculations and set up either the refund or the denial letter. When completed, the refund or denial letter will be mailed to the claimant.

    Board of Building & Safety Commissioners (BBSC)

    What is the Board of Building & Safety Commission (BBSC)?

    The BBSC consists of five citizens appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. The BBSC is granted the authority, by the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) and by the City Charter, to hear many kinds of appeals related to Building ordinances.

    Read more about the BBSC.

    What types of appeals does the BBSC have authority to rule on?

    The BBSC is granted the authority by the Code and by the City Charter, to hear many kinds of appeals, including but not limited to the following:

    • Appeals of the Department’s action regarding requests for slight modifications of the Building Ordinances and/or Code Violation Inspection Fee Ordinances, pursuant to the authority described in LAMC Section 98.0403.1(b) 1.
    • Appeals from determinations, orders or actions of the Department pertaining to enforcement of specific ordinances, regulations or laws in individual cases, pursuant to LAMC Section 98.0403.1(b) 2 (i.e. error and abuse, except land use issues)
    • Applications for import/export of soil pursuant to LAMC Section 91.7006.7.4.
    • "Quasi-Judicial" proceedings pursuant to Division 89 of the LAMC (NOID, PNH)
    • Adoption of Building, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, HVAC, etc Ordinances
    • The BBSC does not hear cases related to land use ordinances. These cases shall be heard by the Department of City Planning in accordance with Section 12.26K of the Los Angeles Municipal Code.
    Read more about the BBSC appeals process.

    How much does it cost to file an Appeal/Application with the BBSC?

    1. The Appeal processing Fee is $130.00 for the first item plus $39.00 for each additional item and a 6% surcharge. Additional fees may be added for research ($104.00/hour) and inspection ($84.00/hour).

      Board Fee is based on Table 4-A (found in LAMC Section 98.0403.2) (see Table 4-A below). The cost to file the appeal consists of the appeal processing fee and the Board fee combined.

      Applications for import/export have a filing fee of $529.00 for the first 1000 cubic yards and $100.00 additional for each 1000 cubic yards or portion of 1000 cubic yards, plus surcharges (17% + $10.00).
    2. Department of City Planning Case applications have an Appeal processing fee of $130.00 with a 6% surcharge. Additional fees may be added for research ($104.00/hour) and inspection ($84.00/hour).
    Table 4-A
     FILING FEES * FOR APPEALS
     FIRST ITEM FOR SINGLE BUILDING TYPE OF BUILDING **
     GROUP OCCUPANCY  V IV and II-N  III  I and II EXCEPT II-N   Each Additional Item
     R-3 and U  $215  $215  $215  $215  $76
     A,B,E,F,H,I,M,S and R-1 and R-2  $354  $354  $354  $632  $215
     All other filing fees not covered in the above schedule including appeals   pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 12.26, shall be $500.00 for the first item and $150.00 for each additional item.

    When will my appeal be heard?

    Generally, an appeal to the BBSC is scheduled for a hearing date within thirty days of receipt of the appeal to the BBSC. This time period will be extended in cases that require additional documentation and/or research. In the case of import/export applications, the scheduled hearing date is contingent upon receipt of the appropriate environmental clearance from the Department of City Planning (i.e. Categorical Exemption, Mitigated Negative Declaration, or Environmental Impact Report) AND responses from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works. 

    How will I know that my case is on the BBSC agenda?

    Notices for all cases on an upcoming hearing are mailed out to interested parties and/or the owner approximately ten days prior to the date of the hearing. For more information regarding a specific application or appeal, contact the Commission Office at (213) 482-0466.

    Also, you may refer to Import/Export Route (Haul Route) Requests Status Table (.pdf) for the status of Import/Export (Haul Route) cases submitted to the Department.

    The Department of Building and Safety sent me a Notice of Hearing regarding someone else's property. Why did I receive this?

    LAMC requires that notices are sent to other property owners that may be affected by the request when an appeal request is submitted to the BBSC. You may attend the hearing and are allowed to speak on any case on the agenda, by completing a speaker card on the day of the hearing. 

    Can I speak before the BBSC on an item that is not on the agenda?

    Members of the public may address the BBSC during the appropriate time scheduled on the agenda (usually at the end of the hearing); however, the BBSC will not take any action on an item that is not on the current agenda.

    How do I appeal a BBSC decision regarding an Import/Export Application?

    Whenever an application for import/export is approved by the BBSC, any interested party may appeal the decision to the City Council within ten calendar days of the Board’s action. The appeal must be filed at the Office of City Clerk any time prior to 5:00 p.m. on the final day of the ten day appeal period. 

    When does my approved Import/Export Application expire? Can I get an extension?

    An import/export approval is valid for twelve months from the date of the Board’s action. The BBSC does not grant extensions on import/export applications. If you fail to obtain your grading permit within the twelve-month period, the application will expire and a new application must be submitted to the Commission Office to be heard before the BBSC. 

    Building Product Approval (Test Lab)

    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.

    Mechanical Product Approval (Test Lab)

    Do plumbing and mechanical equipment and fixtures require approval by LADBS-MTL?

    No, provided the equipment or fixture is listed by an approved listing agency to meet the applicable standards listed in the code.

    What are the different approvals I can get from LADBS-MTL?

    One-time Approval. This approval is granted for fixtures and equipment that are custom made or installed at a specific job site. The evaluation and testing can often be performed at the location where the fixture/equipment is installed. Application for this type of approval may be filed by the building owner, installer, vendor, or manufacturer. The approval is for one time and for a specific location, and it cannot be used for another installation.

    General Approval/Laboratory Approval. This approval is granted for fixtures and equipment to be used anytime and anywhere within the City. The testing and physical evaluation are usually done in an approved laboratory, unless a suitable site visit is prearranged. Application for this type of approval shall be filed by the manufacturer.

    What is the process of obtaining an LADBS-MTL approval?

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

    1. Submit an “Application for Testing or Evaluating Mechanical Equipment” to the LADBS-MTL and pay the fees.
    2. Attach product literature that shows materials and dimensions, and describes the intended use, installation and maintenance instructions. Also, you may include pictures or other materials that will help to evaluate the product. A product sample or a field visit maybe required.
    3. Provide substantiating data such as test reports from an approved third party testing agency and/or engineering analysis in support of the requested approval.
    4. Attach a typed list of sizes and models, as applicable, of the product to be approved.
    5. After reviewing the submitted documents, an approval letter or a correction notice will be issued by an LADBS-MTL engineer and sent to the applicant.
    6. Upon approval of a Mechanical Research Report, the approval letter will be posted on the Los Angeles City Department of Building and Safety web site. The approval letter will contain conditions of approval specifying the proper use and installation of the product.
    7. The application package (PC-MECH.App14) can be found here or on the "Mechanical Test Lab (MTL)" page.

    How can I obtain an application for product approval?

    The application form can be found on the website here or on our "Mechanical Test Lab (MTL)" page.

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

    It depends on the backlog at the time the application is submitted. The backlog information is provided to applicants at the time of submittal. The backlog is the time it takes to assign an application and report to an LADBS-MTL engineer to be processed from the submittal date. If there are any corrections, it will be up to the applicant to address the corrections in a timely manner.

    Who can apply for approval?

    For a general approval/laboratory approval, a company who has the legal rights to the product's test reports being submitted and the legal rights to the product. Test reports being submitted shall bear the name of the applicant, unless documentation is provided authorizing the applicant to use such reports.

    For One-Time approval, application may be filed by the building owner, installer, vendor, or manufacturer.

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

    A General Approval/Laboratory Approval is valid for one year from the approval date.

    Can I expedite the review process?

    Expedite fee pursuant to Section 98.0433 of the Los Angeles City Municipal Code may be paid by the applicant to reduce the time it takes to assign the application to an LADBS-MTL engineer. The amount of the expedite fee is, in addition to the regular application fee, equal to one-half of the regular application fee.

    How can an approval be renewed?

    Submit an “Application for Testing or Evaluating Mechanical Equipment” (found on the "Mechanical Test Lab (MTL)" page) to LADBS-MTL, check the box “renewal” and pay the fees. 

    Additional information, tests, and/or engineering analysis may be required, in which case written comments will be sent to the applicant.

    Electrical Product Approval (Test Lab)

    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":

    Soft-Story Retrofit

    What is a soft-story building?

    A soft-story building is a structure which has a weaker first floor and is unable to carry the weight of the stories above during an earthquake. The first floor generally would have large openings in the perimeter walls such as garages, tuck under parking or even large windows.

    What is retrofit?

    Retrofit is an improvement to your building by altering or adding any structural elements.

    What is Tuck-Under Parking?

    This type of parking is parking beneath the 2nd floor.

    What is this program about?

    The purpose of this program is to reduce the risk of injury or loss of life that may result from the effects of earthquakes on wood frame soft-story buildings. In the Northridge Earthquake, many wood frame soft- story buildings caused loss of life, injury, and property damage. This program creates a guide for property owners on strengthening their building to improve performance during an earthquake.

    What is the scope of this program?

    This program applies to all existing buildings with the following criteria:

    1. Two or more stories wood frame construction wood frame construction
    2. Built under the building code standards enacted before January 1, 1978
    3. Contains ground or other similar open floor space that causes soft, weak or open wall lines.

    Exception: The program does not apply to residential buildings with 3 or less units.

    When will I receive my order to comply?

    Each property owner of these buildings will be sent an order to comply. These orders will be sent accordingly based on the following priority:

    Priority Categories Start date of Sending Out Orders
    I. Buildings with 16 or more dwelling units 3-story and above May 2, 2016
    2-story July 22, 2016
    II. Buildings with 3 or more stories with less than 16 units Oct 17, 2016
    III. Buildings not falling within the definition of Priority I or II with 9-15 units TBD
    with 7-8 units TBD
    with 4-6 units TBD
    Condos/Commercial TBD

    What do I need to do first?

    The property owner must hire an engineer or architect licensed in the state of California to evaluate the strength of the building. The engineer or architect must then develop plans for the building’s seismic strengthening in compliance with this program.  The owner must notify tenants in writing per HCIDLA regulations.

    How do I find an Engineer?

    Please visit the State of California’s Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists for information regarding licensed engineers: http://bpelsg.ca.gov. 

    How do I find an Architect?

    Please visit the California Architects Board for information regarding licensed architects: http://cab.ca.gov

    How do I find a Contractor?

    Please visit the Contractors State License Board for information regarding hiring a contractor and to verify if a contractor is licensed and insured: http://cslb.ca.gov.

    What do I do next?

    Submit proof of previous retrofit, plans to retrofit, or plans to demolish to the Department of Building and Safety. Plans and calculations will be checked for compliance with the retrofit ordinance. LADBS will provide guidance for all necessary steps to obtain the retrofit permit, which includes obtaining clearances from all pertinent agencies.

    What are the time limits to comply?

    Within two (2) years after the service date of the Order to Comply, a structural analysis and plans to either retrofit or demolish, or proof of previous retrofit shall be submitted to the Department for review if the building meets the minimum requirements of this ordinance.

    Within three-and-a-half (3 ½) years after the service date of the Order to Comply, obtain all permits for retrofit or demolition of the building.

    Within seven (7) years after the service date of the Order to Comply, complete construction or demolition work and finalize permits.

    What do I do after a permit is issued?

    Begin construction and request inspections online using our Online Services.

    What should I submit to LADBS for plan check and obtain a permit?

    The documents required for submittal are:

    • Structural analysis/calculation package
    • Architectural plans
    • Structural plans

    For more details see our Plan Submittal for Regular Plan Check page.

    What is plan check?

    Plan check is a process of which the plans are reviewed for compliance to current codes. For this program, the plans will be reviewed for compliance to the mandatory retrofit ordinance 183983 and 184081. Once plans have been reviewed and approved, permit can be issued.

    What is inspection?

    All construction work for which a permit is required shall be subject to inspection by authorized inspectors. It is your responsibility to notify the inspector when the work is ready for inspection.

    Work is generally inspected and approved in succession and no work may continue beyond the point indicated in each successive inspection without first obtaining the approval of the inspector.

    Common items to be inspected are foundation excavations, concrete work, wood framing, shear wall nailing, etc. When completed, there shall be a final inspection and approval of the completed project.

    How do I schedule for inspection?

    To request for inspection, please call (888) LA4Build or (213) 482-0008 or request for inspection online.

    Audit and Retro-Commissioning

    Soft-story Sample

    Waiting for Soft-Story Content

    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 from the Los Angeles City Department of Building and Safety website. You may download it at New General Approval or Technical Modification.

    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).

    How can I renew my Los Angeles City Research Report?

    Complete an Application for Renewal and Clerical Modification of General Approval as directed in the instructions available at LADBS.org. 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 from the previous re-evaluation due date listed on the current approval.

    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 Engineering 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 Engineering Research Section: product literature describing how your product is to be used, substantiating data (i.e. test reports by approved 3rd party testing agency, engineering analysis), a completed application form for new LARR, along with 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 devise, 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 and/or correct 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 comment. 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 Engineering Research Section for final review and approval. A signed copy of the Los Angeles City Research Report will be mailed to the applicant and a copy will be posted on the LADBS web site.

    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 Engineering Research Section at (213) 202-9812.

    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. 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 LARRs 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. A separate Renewal Application will need to be submitted if the LARR is scheduled to expire soon.

    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 an appropriate fee to continue the approval of the 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: (1) Application for New General Approval or Technical Modification and an (2) Application for Renewal and Clerical Modification of General Approval. 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.

    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 Information Bulletin IB-P/BC-2014-119 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.

    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 first 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.

    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.

    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 Information Bulletin P/GI 2014-028, Rules and Regulations for Recognition of Testing Agencies.

    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.

    Can I obtain a permit over the phone?

    No.

    Can I request records over the phone?

    No, but a fax request may be sent.

    Does the Metro office have the same records as the Van Nuys location?

    Yes. Records may also be obtained from Online Building Records.

    How can I find out if there are any open permits on my property?

    Building Information Online on the LADBS.org homepage or Permit & Inspection Report can provide permit information for a specific property. 

    How can I get an extension on my permit?

    Inspectors can extend a permit providing it is not an Express Permit.

    How can I obtain blueprints for my property?

    To obtain copies of plans, we would first have to make sure there are plans on file. Plans are not maintained for every property.

    How far back do your records go?

    Our records go back to the year of 1905.

    What is a Range File?

    A Range File is a Code Enforcement Violation.

    What is the estimated cost for the records?

    The cost can range anywhere from 10¢ (cents) per page to $1.50 per page.

    Where can I find a covenant?

    A covenant can be obtained at the County Recorder’s office.

    Where can I find my sewer connection?

    Please contact the Public Works Department.

    Where can I get my original Building Permit if it's not available from the city?

    The County Assessor’s Office can provide the original Building Permit number. Building and Safety may be able to look it up by the permit number.

    Where can I get my setbacks or property line?

    Usually setbacks can be obtained from a current plot plan.

    Who is the Architect on my neighbor's house?

    The Architect information may be found on the Building Permit.

    Why can't I obtain copies of my Plumbing and Electrical plans?

    Building and Safety does not maintain copies of Plumbing or Electrical plans.

    Are there exceptions to the requirement of "graywater ready" systems?

    Yes. Graywater Ready Systems are not required when the landscape area on the site does not exceed 500 square feet, or when graywater irrigation is not permitted due to geological conditions, or for additions or alterations that use the existing building drain.

    Can I combine emergency drains with subsoil drainage system?

    Yes. However, the emergency drains shall be protected against backflow with backwater valves.

    Can I discharge water from the sprinkler piping to the storm drain system?

    No, water from sprinkler drain shall discharge to the sewer.

    Can I get plan check approval before getting the gas service letter from the gas company?

    No. Low pressure gas systems (2 psi or less) with more than 10 gas outlets require plan check. Medium and high pressure gas systems (more than 2 psi) require plan check regardless of the number of gas outlets.

    Can I install a water heater in the yard?

    The Plumbing Code allows outdoor installations of water heaters. Check with the Zoning engineer for required minimum distance from the property line.

    Can I use a slope of less than 1% for rain water piping?

    No, since the pipe sizing tables for rain rainwater are based on a minimum 1% slope.

    Can I use ABS pipe in a residential building?

    Plastic waste and vent piping in residential occupancies are allowed when the residential portion of the building is 2 stories or less.

    What are the over-the-counter hours for Mechanical Plan Check?

    • Monday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM
    • Tuesday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM
    • Wednesday 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    • Thursday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM
    • Friday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Do I need plan check if I am adding plumbing fixtures in an existing building that has a main pipe 2 inches diameter or larger?

    Plan check is not required for existing systems that are added added or altered with branch lines serving less than 20 fixture units and sized per table 610.4.

    Do I need plan check for a gas system?

    Low pressure gas systems (2 psi or less) with more than 10 gas outlets require plan check. Medium and high pressure gas systems (more than 2 psi) require plan check regardless of the number of gas outlets.

    Do I need plan check for a potable water system when the water service is less than 2 inches?

    Plan check is not required for a 2-inch or less water service when the potable water piping is sized using table 610.4 of the Los Angeles Plumbing Code.

    Do I need plan check for a sewer piping system?

    Plan check for sewer piping is not required when the drainage fixture units do not exceed 216 fixture units and pumps are not used.

    Do I need plan check for rain gutters?

    No plan check is required for rain gutters.

    Do I need plan check for the roof drains?

    Systems up to 10 interconnected roof drains do not require plan check.

    Do I need plan check to install a sewage ejector?

    Yes, plan check is required for sewage ejector per Section 101.5.6 of the Los Angeles Plumbing Code (LAPC).

    Do I need plumbing plan check for a swimming pool installed in a single family dwelling unit?

    Plumbing plan check is required only for swimming pools installed in apartment buildings or commercial building and it is not required for single family dwelling units.

    What piping material I can use for subsoil drainage system?

    The acceptable pipe material for subsoil drain are listed in table 1102.5 of LAPC. Acceptable pipe material are Asbestos Cement, PE, PVC, and Clay.

    When can I use combination waste and vent systems?

    Combination Waste and Vent Systems are permitted when structural conditions prevents the use or conventional waste system.

    When do I need to have a graywater ready system?

    In general, "Graywater Ready Systems" shall be provided for all building plans submitted after June 6, 2016.

    Does my mechanical product need to be on the LA Research Report Database in order to be acceptable?

    No, the product is acceptable if it is listed by a City of Los Angeles recognized listing agency.

    How can I obtain a general approval from the Mechanical Test Lab?

    The product manufacturer needs to file a test lab application and submit the required testing reports. Please visit the Mechanical Test Lab page for applications.

    How can I obtain approval as a mechanical listing/testing agency?

    You will need to file an application with the Mechanical Testing Laboratory. A complete application package and information on how to submit the application and the required product information is available on our Mechanical Test Lab section.

    How can I obtain approval from the Mechanical Test Lab if there are currently no published applicable testing standards?

    Approval from LA City Mechanical Testing Laboratory cannot be obtained for products that do not have applicable testing standards.

    How long will it take for my application to be processed?

    The process time depends on the current backlog and type of application submitted. Contact the Mechanical Test Lab Engineer for more information. You may find test lab contact information on our Mechanical Test Lab page. 

    What product standard(s) do I need to have my product tested by an approved testing agency?

    A product (or equipment) is considered approved if it bears either the approval label of the City of Los Angeles Electrical Test Lab, or listing or certification label, symbol or other identifying mark of a recognized testing agency. In either case, the product (or the equipment) is installed and used according to any limitations or restrictions posed by the testing agencies and the requirements of the code. See section 93.0402 for more detail.

    Where can I find a roster of the approved listing and testing agencies recognized by the Mechanical Test Lab?

    Approved testing and listing agencies are available from the Mechanical Test Lab page.

    Where can I find the application for renewal, new general approval, technical modifications, and one-time approval from the Mechanical Test Lab?

    All testlab applications are listed on the Mechanical Test Lab page on the LADBS website.

    Are there ADA requirements at special events?

    Yes, ADA restrooms and parking at events must meet ADA requirements.

    Are toilets required for special events?

    Yes. Sanitary facilities must be provided at special events.

    Can I get a duplicate copy of the Inspection Card?

    A duplicate of Building Inspection Card can be obtained from LADBS cashier free of charge, but you must bring a copy of the permit.

    Can I have a deputy inspector approve the required inspections?

    Kitchen exhaust with intake from the kitchen ceiling register and bathroom exhaust can be combined using the same exhaust duct. Kitchen exhaust from a kitchen hood shall be combined with bathroom exhaust.

    Can I have a special Event if there is no Certificate of Occupancy for the building?

    No. To have a special event, the building must have a Certificate of Occupancy.

    Can I pay for the TCO online?

    Once the fees are calculated by the inspector, an email is sent to the customer to pay online.

    Can I pick up the certificate of occupancy at your office.

    Yes, you can pick it up at the public counter of any office.

    Can I request a different inspector?

    Inspectors are assigned by district, with a few exceptions.

    Can I start work before I obtain my permit?

    No, work cannot be started until a valid permit is issued.

    Can you obtain an special event permit online?

    Yes, all special event permits are issued online.

    Do I have to pay for a Certificate of Occupancy?

    The fees are a part of the inspection fees.

    Do I have to return to plan check for all changes?

    Minor changes usually do not require returning to plan check. All major or structural changes require you to return to plan check.

    Do I have to return to the plan checker who reviewed my plans for corrections?

    No, but it would be more helpful if the plan checker was the original one who granted approval.

    Do I have to schedule a different inspection for each division?

    Yes. Each division has their own permit.

    Do the inspectors work weekends for special events?

    Yes, staff work days include Saturday and Sunday.

    How are the fees calculated for a TCO?

    The fees are calculated by the type of occupancy.

    How can I schedule an off-hour inspection?

    Off-hour inspections can only be scheduled through the LADBS.org website. You may schedule an off-hour inspection through our Online Services.

    What is the cost of an off-hour inspection?

    The fees for an off-hour inspection is $318.00.

    How do I pay for an off-hour inspection?

    Off-hour inspections can only be paid through the LADBS website.

    How late can I schedule an inspection?

    You can schedule an inspection for the next day, so long as you do so before 4:00 PM.

    Can I combine a kitchen exhaust with a bathroom exhaust?

    Kitchen exhaust with intake from the kitchen ceiling register and bathroom exhaust can be combined using the same exhaust duct. Kitchen exhaust firm a kitchen hood shall be combined with bathroom exhaust.

    Can I install a residential hood in a non-dwelling unit?

    Yes, but with conditions. Residential hoods may be installed in employee kitchen areas, community centers in residential buildings, churches and similar areas that are not designed for the selling of food to the public. The cooking equipment shall be of residential grade, and a modification shall be approved by Mechanical Plan Check before installation.

    Can the bathroom, kitchen and dryer exhaust terminate under the balcony?

    Yes, but with conditions. Contact Mechanical Plan Check for more information.

    Do I need plan check to install an air conditioning system in a single dwelling?

    Plan check is required when the aggregate cooling or the heating in the building exceeds 500,000 BTU/hr.

    Do I have to install a hood in a residential kitchen?

    A hood is not required for residential kitchens. However, it is required to provide kitchen ventilation for removing moisture.

    Do I need plan check to install window AC units?

    No, plan check is not required for ductless window units.

    I am installing a new air conditioning system, what type of filters do I need to use?

    Residential buildings up to 3 stories in height shall have filters with Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 6. Residential buildings over 3 stories in height have no requirements for MERV values. All non-residential buildings shall have filters with a MERV rating of at least 8. All buildings residential and commercial of any height located within 1000 feet of a freeway shall have filters with a MERV value of at least 13.

    I am replacing or adding an AC unit. Do I need to prepare plans?

    If the AC units that are added or replaced add up to 5 or more, then plans must be prepared and submitted for approval to Mechanical Plan Check.

    In a dwelling unit, can I use openable windows to meet the outside air title 24 requirement?

    Yes, but only when the area of the open window and the distance from the window to the furthest location in the room comply with the requirements of Title 24.

    What are the requirements for a garage ventilation system?

    Please see Section 403.7 of the Los Angeles Mechanical Code (LAMC) for the requirements concerning garage ventilation systems.

    Can the electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure provided at a disabled parking stall be used to satisfy the Green Building requirements?

    No, EV charging stalls are required to be unrestricted and available for all users. However, if the EV charging infrastructure is located in a manner where it can facilitate both spaces, then it will be acceptable.

    Does the Green code apply to my project?

    Green Building code is applicable to the following projects:

  • New buildings
  • Additions of any size
  • Alter/Repair with a valuation of $200,000 or more
  • Alterations to residential buildings that result in increase in conditioned volume.
  • Does the number of stories of a building affect the designation of a building from a residential to a non-residential project?

    No, the number of stories does not change the requirements of a residential or non-residential use.

    How can I obtain Green Building approval?

    Contact the designated plan checker on your project to make an appointment for verification of corrections. Contact information is provided on the correction sheet. Approval for Green Building requirements will be provided after verification of all corrections is completed.

    How do I submit plans for Green Building Plan Check?

    During the regular plan check submittal process, an additional set of plans is collected and routed for Green Building section for review and approval process, if required.

    Is a hotel a residential or non-residential project?

    Guest rooms in a hotel for sleeping purposes and any related use is considered a residential project.

    When do I need to call for green inspection?

    Call for initial inspection after HVAC is installed and ducts sealed and prior to drywall installation.

    When is a commissioning report required?

    Commissioning report is required for all new non-residential projects of 10,000 square feet or more. The exceptions are warehouses, open parking garages and similar projects.

    When is it required to have the ducts covered during a project?

    Ducts should be covered as soon as installed, and shall remain covered until the HVAC system is installed and ready to be turned on.

    Where can I find the SRI values for the most common roofing products?

    The manufacturer’s website will usually have this information readily available. Alternatively, the Cool Roof Rating Council (CCRC) provides a searchable public database for all products that have been tested by the organization.

    Where can I obtain a copy of the Green Building Code?

    CALGreen and Los Angeles Green Building Codes are available to view on our website. Purchase information can be found under LA City Code Amendments.

    Who can prepare a commissioning report?

    The report can be prepared by commissioning agents and any other trained personnel with experience on projects of comparable size and complexity.

    Are there any general notes for grading plans submittal?

    No. The Grading Division no longer maintains standard general notes for grading plans.

    Can I construct a permeable pavement at my property to infiltrate stormwater?

    Yes, for passive (non-concentrated) infiltration only. Where concentrated infiltration is proposed please refer to Information Bulletin P/BC 2014-118.

    Can I further expedite the review of a report?

    Not usually. However, further expediting supplemental reports for projects under construction can be considered. It’s recommended to discuss with the grading division reviewers at the time of submittal.

    Can I get a copy of a GPI report?

    Yes. A completed GPI report may be obtained from the Records Section or Grading Division.

    Can I get a GPI waiver?

    GPI waivers may be granted by the district grading inspector on a case by case basis. Waivers are generally not granted for deepened foundations, slopes 3:1 (H:V) or steeper, swimming pool, or retaining walls over 6 feet in height.

    Can I install a stormwater infiltration system in a lot within a Hillside Grading Area?

    In general, infiltration is not allowed within a Hillside Grading Area. However, consideration can be given for properties where slopes won't be impacted.

    Can I install a stormwater infiltration system in a lot within a potentially liquefiable hazard zone?

    In general, infiltration is not allowed within a potentially liquefiable hazard zone. However, sites within a potentially liquefiable zone can be considered for infiltration if a soils report demonstrates that the site is not subject to liquefaction.

    Can you recommend a consultant to prepare a fault investigation report?

    The Department does not recommend or endorse consultants. The Department does maintain a roster of approved testing agencies on the web site, which contains soil laboratories and geotechnical companies.

    Can you recommend a consultant to prepare a soils, geology or soils and geology report?

    The Department does not recommend or endorse consultants. The Department does maintain a roster of approved testing agencies on the web site, which contains soil laboratories and geotechnical companies.

    Do I need a grading permit for my project?

    A grading permit may be required depending on the scope of the project. Permits are almost always required in the Hillside Grading Area. Please contact the Grading Division.

    Do I need a soils report for a subdivision?

    A soils/geology report for a subdivision is generally required in hillside areas and seismic hazard zones. See Information Bulletin P/BC 2107-132.

    Do you review methane reports?

    No. Methane reports are reviewed by the building plan checker. See Chapter 71 of the LABC.

    How can I find out if my property is in a seismic hazard zone?

    Check the Parcel Profile Report available on the Department’s website. NavigateLA also shows the extent of seismic hazard zones colored in the map.

    How can I report an unpermitted grading/construction?

    Online at our website or call 311.

    How do I find out if a previous soils/geology report was submitted for my property?

    Check the “Search Online Building Records” on the Department’s website. Previous soils/geology reports can also be obtained at the Records Section locations at 201 N. Figueroa Street, Rm. 110 (Metro) or 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., 2nd Floor (Van Nuys).

    How do I obtain previous soils/geology reports?

    Check the “Search Online Building Records” on the Department’s web site. Previous soils/geology reports can also be obtained at the Records Section locations at 201 N. Figueroa Street, Rm. 110 (Metro) or 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., 2nd Floor (Van Nuys).

    How do I submit a report to the Grading Division?

    Reports must be submitted in person at any construction services center.

    How long is a soils/geology report good for?

    In general, four years, unless there is a change in the scope of work or adoption of a new LABC.

    How long will it take to get my report reviewed?

    Regular: 5 to 6 weeks. Expedite: 4 to 5 weeks.

    How much does it cost to have a report reviewed by the Grading Division?

    Please refer to Department fee schedule online for general fees. Final fees to be determined at the time of submittal.

    Can I appeal a project I am not happy with?

    You have the right to appeal any project. There will be a fee for an appeal.

    How do I submit my appeal?

    Complete this form and submit it to LADBS.

    Can I appeal a zoning violation to LADBS?

    Yes, you can appeal if the project you are appealing was submitted to LADBS for plan check. LADBS will provide a response to the appeal in writing, and then you may appeal to City Planning if you do not agree with LADBS' responses. See Information Bulletin P/ZC 2017-019, available on LADBS.org, for more information.

    Can I apply for a permit online?

    Yes. You can apply for the permits which do not require plan check. Please visit ePermit to apply.

    Can I ask for a permit extension if my permit has expired?

    No, a permit is valid for two years from the time the permit fees are paid. You will need to obtain a new permit for the remaining work not completed under the expired permit.

    Can I ask for my permit extension?

    Yes, you can ask the inspector for your project about a permit extension.

    Can I ask for Plan Check extension?

    A request for Plan Check extension can be granted in most cases. See Information Bulletin P/BC 2014-120 information.

    Can I get my permit same day?

    The "Express Permits" can be issued on the same day. See the Information Bulletin P/GI 2014-003 for the list of the Express Permits. For the Permits other than the Express permits which can be checked as Over the Counter, see the Information Bulletin P/GI 2014-011, -12 & -13, available at LADBS.org.

    Can I pull a permit for my house when I am residing in the house?

    Yes. You will need to provide proof that you are residing in that house, such as a DWP or a Gas Company statement.

    Can I record my affidavit without City approval?

    No, every required affidavit shall be reviewed and approved by City staff before it is recorded. Otherwise, it will not be valid.

    Can I submit my plans online for Plan Check?

    Electronic plan check is not available at this time, but the City will soon have ePlan (Electronic Plan Check), allowing the submittal of plans online.

    Can I use a Commercial Coach on my property?

    Yes, but with some exceptions. Please see the Information Bulletin P/BC 2014-079 for more details. 

    Can I use any products in LA City?

    For non-structural items, an ICC report is acceptable. For structural elements, you will need a LA Research Report. See the Information Bulletin P/BC 2014-119.

    Can my neighbor's site drainage drain to my property?

    No. Each property drainage shall be directed to a public street via non-erosive device.

    Do I have to pay for an appeal if the error is an LADBS error?

    If you can show that the Department has erred and LADBS accepts the error, LADBS will correct the error. Otherwise, you will need to pay a required fee to file an appeal against LADBS' determination.

    Do I need a Certificate of Occupancy for my Tenant Improvement project?

    A Certificate of Occupancy is not required for a Tenant Improvement project unless the permit is for a Change of Use.

    Do I need any setbacks for my accessory building?

    A recreation room and/or an Accessory Living Quarters are required to observe setbacks from the property line per Section 12.21.C.5 of L.A.M.C.

    Do I need covered parking spaces for my new house?

    The required parking spaces for a house in a single-family zoned property shall be covered.

    Do I need to record my affidavit with LA County Recorder office?

    Yes, all the required affidavits need to be recorded with LA County Records office. The affidavit shall be signed by the plan check staff assigned to your project before it is recorded.

    Do I need to register in order to pull a permit online?

    Yes. Please visit our Online Permit webpage to register. 

    Can I install a master PRV downstream of the fire pump in a sprinkler system?

    A master PRV is allowed to be installed downstream of a fire pump when a second master PRV is installed to provide redundancy, so that failure of one PRV does not affect the operation of the fire protection system.

    How many sprinkler heads do I need to hydraulically calculate for a single family dwelling sprinkler system?

    Maximum two residential heads shall be hydraulically calculated for the design criteria listed in section 10.2.1 of NFPA 13D.

    How do I size the fire water storage tank for a high-rise building?

    The fire water storage tank is sized according to the sprinkler or standpipe demand, whichever is larger for the water supply duration as stated in NFPA 13 table 11.2.3.1.2

    What are the pressure and flow requirements at the standpipe hose valves?

    The flow and pressure requirements are 250 GPM at 100 PSI when PRV is not required, and 250 GPM at 125 PSI when PRV is required.

    What are the requirements for fire protection in a high-rise retrofit building?

    Refer to section 8604.6.5 of LABC.

    When do I need to have a storage tank for fire protection?

    Storage tanks for fire protection are required for new high-rise buildings over 75 ft. and for existing building falling under the scope of chapter 86 of LABC when the building height exceeds 150 ft.

    When do I need to zone the sprinkler system?

    The maximum pressure in the sprinkler system shall not exceeds 350 PSI at any location in the system. Sprinkler systems can be zoned to avoid exceeding such pressure.

    When do I need floor control valves? Where should be located?

    Floor control valves and waterflow detection assemblies shall be installed at each floor where any of the following occur:

      1. Buildings where the floor level of the highest story is located more than 30 feet above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access
      2. Buildings that are four or more stories in height
      3. Buildings that are two or more stories below the highest level of fire department vehicle access
    Exception: Group R-3 and R-3.1 occupancies floor control valves and waterflow detection assemblies shall not be required.It is a better design to install all the floor control valves in the same place due, indicating the floor controlled by the valve. Each floor control valve shall have a sign posted indicating that the floor is being controlled by the valve.

    Do I need an elevator permit to install a car lift in an auto repair garage?

    An elevator permit is not required for a car lift within an auto repair garage, as the Los Angeles City elevator code does not apply to car lifts per the City of Los Angeles Elevator Code Section 92.0103.

    I am installing a new elevator in an existing building. Does it need to comply with the requirements for medical emergency elevators?

    If the building was built prior to 1/26/1988, the elevator does not have to comply with the requirements for medical emergency elevators.

    Can any testing agency listed or certify any electrical equipment to be used or installed in the City of Los Angeles?

    No, the City of Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 93.0402 requires that the testing agencies and the product standards used by these agencies to be approved by the Department. For a list of approved laboratories, and list of their recognized standards, please visit our website at LADBS.org.

    Can I pay at the end of the evaluation or testing process?

    No, the application number will be assigned when the completed application and payment are received.

    Can the approval process be expedited?

    Yes. Section 98.0422 of the Los Angeles City Municipal Code allows expedited review process when an amount of a fee equal to one-half of the review fee, in addition to the normal review fee, is paid.

    Are credit cards accepted?

    Yes, but the cardholder needs to be present at the cashier's office for payment process.

    Do you accept electrical equipment with the "CE" logo?

    No. "CE" is not recognized by the City of Los Angeles. It is a designation used for the self-certified equipment in Europe.

    Do you accept payments by wire transfer?

    Yes. Please contact ETL prior to the wire transfer.

    Wire Routing Transit Number: (RTN/ABA) 121000248
    International Transfer: International SWIFT BIC WFBIUS6S
    Bank Name: Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
    Bank Address: 420 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94104
    Account Number: 2000045258718
    Please include Wells Fargo USD $8.00 charge for all incoming wire transfers.

    For additional information regarding wire transfers, please contact Precy Sanchez at (213) 482-6955.

    How long does the evaluation process take?

    The initial evaluation process will take about 2 to 4 weeks. The overall completion of the evaluation and approval depends on the applicant.

    How much would it cost to get approval for an electrical equipment?

    The cost depends on the type of equipment and type of approval. Fees are based on the LAMC fee ordinance. Please contact ETL at 323-224-2168 to get an accurate quote for the evaluation process.

    How soon can you evaluate my equipment after I have paid for the application?

    Time frame depends on current workload backlog. Please call ETL at (323) 224-2168 for the current backlog.

    I am using listed components in my panel. Why do I need approval for the panel?

    The overall system needs to be evaluated and approved, not just individual components.

    The equipment has not been built yet. Can you approve the design of the equipment?

    No. The design of the equipment can be reviewed, but the approval can only be issued after satisfactory evaluation and testing of the equipment.

    What are the different types of approval?

    Different types of approval are: Laboratory Approval, Field One-Time Approval, and General Approval

    What are the hours of operation for the Electrical Testing Lab (ETL)?

    Monday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM 
    Tuesday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM 
    Wednesday 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    Thursday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM 
    Friday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    What can I do if my equipment is not listed by a City of LA recognized testing laboratory?

    An application for the Electrical Test Lab (ETL) may be submitted for evaluation.

    What can I do if some of the components in my equipment are not listed by a City of LA recognized testing laboratory?

    All major critical components in the equipment need to be recognized and/or listed by a City of Los Angeles recognized testing laboratory.

    What forms of payment do you accept?

    Personal, company or a cashier's check from a United States bank, made payable to "City of Los Angeles."

    What happens if my equipment does not pass the evaluation?

    A letter of correction will be issued, either asking for additional information or indicating what tests or evaluations did not pass and may necessitate changes or modifications to the equipment.

    What information do you need at the time of application submittal?

    Current product literature, owner’s manual, schematic wiring diagrams and parts list, installation instruction (if applicable), and a production sample of the equipment with all the options and accessories.

    What is a UL Standard?

    UL Standard is an Underwriters Laboratories standard used as the basis of evaluation and testing of equipment.

    What is LARR?

    LARR stands for "Los Angeles Research Reports." LADBS approves alternate building materials or products that are at least equivalent to the materials prescribed in the code in terms of quality, effective time period of fire resistance, strength, effectiveness, durability and safety. Approved materials are published as LARR.

    As a homeowner, can I obtain an electrical permit?

    If you have resided in the house for 12 months or more.

    Can a contractor sign for the plans?

    A contractor may sign for their own design as permitted by the State Law and section 93.0206(a).

    Can this plan check be done on the counter?

    Refer to our Information Bulletin P/GI 2014-012 from our website for qualifications regarding counter plan check.

    Do I need an inspection card for my electrical permit?

    An inspection card is not required for any Electrical or Mechanical permits.

    Do I need a plan check?

    You will need a plan check when the scope of work involves items under code section 93.0206.

    Do I need an electrical permit when modifying existing wiring?

    Any time you alter, repair, add, relocate, or modify existing electrical wiring, you will need an electrical permit. Refer to section 93.0201 for a list of exceptions.

    Do I need a permit for low voltage wiring?

    Yes, if the installation involves a (1) communication circuit or class 2 signaling circuit over 30 volts or under 30 volts but more than 100 va, (2) amplifier circuits not using class 2 or 3 wiring, or (3) any circuit operating over 15 volts that control, generate, transmit, transform, or utilize more than 25 watts or va. See section 93.0202 for more details.

    How are the fees for plan check calculated?

    Fees for plan check are calculated based on items to be reviewed and permitted. You can find the breakdown of these item in sections 93.0214 through 93.0224.

    How can I tell if a product is approved to be used in the City of Los Angeles?

    A product (or equipment) is considered approved if it bares either the approval label of the City of Los Angeles Electrical Test Lab, or listing or certification label, symbol or other identifying mark of a recognized testing agency. And in either case, the product (or the equipment) is installed and used according to any limitations or restrictions posed by the testing agencies and the requirements of the code. See section 93.0402 for more details.

    How do I check the status of my project?

    You may check the status of your plan check either through 311 or via Department's online permit and inspection report. You can reach this online service at https://www.ladbsservices2.lacity.org/OnlineServices/

    How do I get hold of my plan check engineer?

    You may view our employee directory on the LADBS website to look up your plan checker contact information.

    How do I submit online?

    Only standard solar pv permits currently qualify for online plan check and permit service. See Information Bulletin P/GI 2014-027 for more details. You will find a copy of this bulletin here.

    For all other plan review, you are required to visit one of our offices to make a submission.

    How do I submit to plan check?

    You may submit your plans at any of our three office plan check counters located at Metro, Van Nuys, and WLA Building and Safety offices.

    How long will it take to get a plan check?

    The amount time needed to check a plan will vary week to week based on the day's backlog at the time of submittal. You may ask any available staff about the current backlog and a time estimate.

    How many sets of plans are needed?

    We only need one set of plans for plan review. Upon plan approval, you will need to provide two sets of final plans.

    How much is the permit fee?

    The fee is calculated in accordance to code section 93.0213. Each electrical component is itemized as a fee item. You may calculate the fee on our website using the Permit Fee Calculator.

    How much is the plan check fee?

    Plan check fee is 80% of the permit fee, not including the energy fee or other administrative fees. The fee is calculated in accordance to code section 93.0213. Each electrical component is itemized as a fee item. You may calculate the fee on our website using the Permit Fee Calculator or get an estimate at this link.

    How much will it cost to expedite?

    Plan check expedite fee is 150% of the original plan check fee. See 93.0233(h) and 98.0422 for more details.

    What can be done online?

    Any permit that qualifies as an express permit may be obtained online.

    When does a plan requires back room plan review?

    Refer to Information Bulletin P/GI 2014-012 on our website to confirm when plans are required to go through regular plan check (back room) review.

    Are DA requirements applicable to an apartment remodel project?

    Remodeling of apartment buildings that were first occupied prior to March 13, 1991, are not subject to DA requirements.

    Are door installations allowed on the accessible shower compartment?

    Yes, as long as it does not obstruct controls, faucets, and shower spray units, or the transfer of an individual from wheelchairs onto shower seats.

    Do employee work stations/areas need to be accessible?

    Employee workstations must be on an accessible route.

    Are grab bar installations required inside the dwelling unit's bathroom?

    No, but backing for future installation of grab bars is required.

    Are handrails required on both sides of a ramp?

    Yes. Per 11B-505.4, handrail height must be a minimum of 34" and maximum of 38" measured vertically.

    Do outdoor dining areas require DA seating?

    Yes, DA seating is required for each functional area.

    Do temporary structures need to comply with DA requirements?

    Disabled access requirements apply to both temporary and permanent structures.

    Does changing the use of a commercial building to an apartment building trigger DA requirements?

    No, as this is not “newly constructed” according to LABC 202 or used for public housing.

    Does the manager's unit need to comply with DA requirements?

    Yes, the manager's unit needs to comply with the same DA requirements as the dwelling unit.

    How many DA parking spaces are required for guests?

    5% minimum is required.

    How many DA parking spaces are required for tenants?

    2% of the dwelling units. If parking is assigned, then 2% of the assigned parking spaces must be accessible. If unassigned, then a minimum of 5% of parking spaces must be accessible.

    How many DA parking stalls are required?

    DA parking stalls must be provided in accordance with Table 11B-208.3.

    How many DA seats are required for a restaurant?

    Minimum 5% of the seating spaces for dining surfaces must be accessible and dispersed within other types of seating located in the functional area.

    How many dwelling units can I add or build before DA requirements kick in?

    Addition of 3 or more newly-constructed units will trigger DA requirements.

    How many mailboxes need to comply with DA?

    Minimum of 5% must be in compliance.

    How many of the DA parking stalls need to be van stalls?

    1 in 6 DA parking stalls required by Table 11B-208.3 must be a van stall.

    How many units will be required to comply with DA?

    For elevator buildings, all units on floors served by the elevator must be accessible. For non-elevator buildings, all ground floor units must be accessible.

    How many wheelchair spaces are required in assembly areas?

    In an assembly area, the number of required wheelchair-accessible spaces are determined based on the total fixed seat count provided for each functional area, per Table 11B-221.2.11.

    For example: An assembly area of fixed seats between 51-150 seats, there shall be four accessible spaces, per the Table.

    Is a carriage unit exempt from DA requirements?

    Yes, if it complies with the definition of a carriage unit per LABC 202.

    Is a lift required at public swimming pools?

    Yes, a lift is required at public swimming pools.

    What is a soft-story building?

    A soft-story building is a structure which has a weaker first floor and is unable to carry the weight of the stories above during an earthquake. The first floor generally would have large openings in the perimeter walls such as garages, tuck under parking or even large windows.

    What is retrofit?

    Retrofit is an improvement to your building by altering or adding any structural elements.

    What is Tuck-Under Parking?

    This type of parking is parking beneath the 2nd floor.

    What is this program about?

    The purpose of this program is to reduce the risk of injury or loss of life that may result from the effects of earthquakes on wood frame soft-story buildings. In the Northridge Earthquake, many wood frame soft- story buildings caused loss of life, injury, and property damage. This program creates a guide for property owners on strengthening their building to improve performance during an earthquake.

    What is the scope of this program?

    This program applies to all existing buildings with the following criteria:

    1. Two or more stories wood frame construction wood frame construction
    2. Built under the building code standards enacted before January 1, 1978
    3. Contains ground or other similar open floor space that causes soft, weak or open wall lines.

    Exception: The program does not apply to residential buildings with 3 or less units.

    When will I receive my order to comply?

    Each property owner of these buildings will be sent an order to comply. These orders will be sent accordingly based on the following priority:

    Priority Categories Start date of Sending Out Orders
    I. Buildings with 16 or more dwelling units 3-story and above May 2, 2016
    2-story July 22, 2016
    II. Buildings with 3 or more stories with less than 16 units Oct 17, 2016
    III. Buildings not falling within the definition of Priority I or II with 9-15 units TBD
    with 7-8 units TBD
    with 4-6 units TBD
    Condos/Commercial TBD

    What do I need to do first?

    The property owner must hire an engineer or architect licensed in the state of California to evaluate the strength of the building. The engineer or architect must then develop plans for the building’s seismic strengthening in compliance with this program.  The owner must notify tenants in writing per HCIDLA regulations.

    How do I find an Engineer?

    Please visit the State of California’s Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists for information regarding licensed engineers: http://bpelsg.ca.gov. 

    How do I find an Architect?

    Please visit the California Architects Board for information regarding licensed architects: http://cab.ca.gov

    How do I find a Contractor?

    Please visit the Contractors State License Board for information regarding hiring a contractor and to verify if a contractor is licensed and insured: http://cslb.ca.gov.

    What do I do next?

    Submit proof of previous retrofit, plans to retrofit, or plans to demolish to the Department of Building and Safety. Plans and calculations will be checked for compliance with the retrofit ordinance. LADBS will provide guidance for all necessary steps to obtain the retrofit permit, which includes obtaining clearances from all pertinent agencies.

    What are the time limits to comply?

    Within two (2) years after the service date of the Order to Comply, a structural analysis and plans to either retrofit or demolish, or proof of previous retrofit shall be submitted to the Department for review if the building meets the minimum requirements of this ordinance.

    Within three-and-a-half (3 ½) years after the service date of the Order to Comply, obtain all permits for retrofit or demolition of the building.

    Within seven (7) years after the service date of the Order to Comply, complete construction or demolition work and finalize permits.

    What do I do after a permit is issued?

    Begin construction and request inspections online using our Online Services.

    What should I submit to LADBS for plan check and obtain a permit?

    The documents required for submittal are:

    • Structural analysis/calculation package
    • Architectural plans
    • Structural plans

    For more details see our Plan Submittal for Regular Plan Check page.

    What is plan check?

    Plan check is a process of which the plans are reviewed for compliance to current codes. For this program, the plans will be reviewed for compliance to the mandatory retrofit ordinance 183983 and 184081. Once plans have been reviewed and approved, permit can be issued.

    What is inspection?

    All construction work for which a permit is required shall be subject to inspection by authorized inspectors. It is your responsibility to notify the inspector when the work is ready for inspection.

    Work is generally inspected and approved in succession and no work may continue beyond the point indicated in each successive inspection without first obtaining the approval of the inspector.

    Common items to be inspected are foundation excavations, concrete work, wood framing, shear wall nailing, etc. When completed, there shall be a final inspection and approval of the completed project.

    How do I schedule for inspection?

    To request for inspection, please call (888) LA4Build or (213) 482-0008 or request for inspection online.

    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":

    Do plumbing and mechanical equipment and fixtures require approval by LADBS-MTL?

    No, provided the equipment or fixture is listed by an approved listing agency to meet the applicable standards listed in the code.

    What are the different approvals I can get from LADBS-MTL?

    One-time Approval. This approval is granted for fixtures and equipment that are custom made or installed at a specific job site. The evaluation and testing can often be performed at the location where the fixture/equipment is installed. Application for this type of approval may be filed by the building owner, installer, vendor, or manufacturer. The approval is for one time and for a specific location, and it cannot be used for another installation.

    General Approval/Laboratory Approval. This approval is granted for fixtures and equipment to be used anytime and anywhere within the City. The testing and physical evaluation are usually done in an approved laboratory, unless a suitable site visit is prearranged. Application for this type of approval shall be filed by the manufacturer.

    What is the process of obtaining an LADBS-MTL approval?

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

    1. Submit an “Application for Testing or Evaluating Mechanical Equipment” to the LADBS-MTL and pay the fees.
    2. Attach product literature that shows materials and dimensions, and describes the intended use, installation and maintenance instructions. Also, you may include pictures or other materials that will help to evaluate the product. A product sample or a field visit maybe required.
    3. Provide substantiating data such as test reports from an approved third party testing agency and/or engineering analysis in support of the requested approval.
    4. Attach a typed list of sizes and models, as applicable, of the product to be approved.
    5. After reviewing the submitted documents, an approval letter or a correction notice will be issued by an LADBS-MTL engineer and sent to the applicant.
    6. Upon approval of a Mechanical Research Report, the approval letter will be posted on the Los Angeles City Department of Building and Safety web site. The approval letter will contain conditions of approval specifying the proper use and installation of the product.
    7. The application package (PC-MECH.App14) can be found here or on the "Mechanical Test Lab (MTL)" page.

    How can I obtain an application for product approval?

    The application form can be found on the website here or on our "Mechanical Test Lab (MTL)" page.

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

    It depends on the backlog at the time the application is submitted. The backlog information is provided to applicants at the time of submittal. The backlog is the time it takes to assign an application and report to an LADBS-MTL engineer to be processed from the submittal date. If there are any corrections, it will be up to the applicant to address the corrections in a timely manner.

    Who can apply for approval?

    For a general approval/laboratory approval, a company who has the legal rights to the product's test reports being submitted and the legal rights to the product. Test reports being submitted shall bear the name of the applicant, unless documentation is provided authorizing the applicant to use such reports.

    For One-Time approval, application may be filed by the building owner, installer, vendor, or manufacturer.

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

    A General Approval/Laboratory Approval is valid for one year from the approval date.

    Can I expedite the review process?

    Expedite fee pursuant to Section 98.0433 of the Los Angeles City Municipal Code may be paid by the applicant to reduce the time it takes to assign the application to an LADBS-MTL engineer. The amount of the expedite fee is, in addition to the regular application fee, equal to one-half of the regular application fee.

    How can an approval be renewed?

    Submit an “Application for Testing or Evaluating Mechanical Equipment” (found on the "Mechanical Test Lab (MTL)" page) to LADBS-MTL, check the box “renewal” and pay the fees. 

    Additional information, tests, and/or engineering analysis may be required, in which case written comments will be sent to the applicant.

    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.