Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What residential plans are required to have the seal of a licensed architect? The form for minimum plan submittal requirements says that they must be wet sealed and signed, WHEN REQUIRED. Please verify/confirm when they are required.

Also, to what extent is there grandfathering for older homes in the county that were built and added on to over the last 100 years, without permitting? Is a pre-permit inspection and approval required before a new addition permit can be given? If so, what will this inspection entail, and what upgrades will likely be required? The existing house is approximately 1000 SF, built by the owner's grandfather and added on to / upgraded over time by various family members. The proposed addition is approximately 450 SF attached the back end of the house with little or no remodeling to the existing house, other than to connect the two.

Section 5537 of the Business and Professions Code does not require a licensed architect to stamp plans for a single-family dwelling of woodframe construction not more than two stories and basement in height, but the Building and Safety Division of County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works may request the preparation of plans, drawings, specifications, or calculations by, or under the responsible control, of a licensed architect or registered engineer if the structure deviates from conventional light frame construction. The plan checker assigned to review your project will have the authority to determine the requirements for final approval.

If you confirm that permits have not been obtained for previous additions, you should contact the office manager at the San Gabriel Valley Building and Safety Office at (626) 574-0941 to obtain information on how to legalize the un-permitted portions of the building. The typical procedure to legalize an existing, un-permitted structure depends on the size and complexity of the addition, this can involve a variety of steps from having an engineer review the existing construction to demolishing and rebuilding portions of the un-permitted addition. Because the addition was constructed without permits, if it is permitted now it must meet the requirements of the current codes. This could involve retrofitting the foundation, walls, or framing to meet the requirements of today's building code requirements. As mentioned above, the office manager will be able to guide you through the process in more detail.

San Gabriel Valley District Office
125 S. Baldwin Avenue
Arcadia, CA
(626) 574 0941

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