I AM A HOMEOWNER

What do I have to do?

As a homeowner/owner-builder in Los Angeles County this site will provide you with guidance for getting through the “5 Steps of the Permit Process,” including helpful links and information regarding services and building code requirements. You can learn what you’ll need to proceed with hiring professionals, the purpose of permits and requirements for construction involving additions, alterations, or repairs to your principal place of residence. Also, should you have any questions you can call or visit your local Building and Safety District Office.

Homeowner

What do I have to do?

As a homeowner/owner-builder in Los Angeles County this site will provide you with guidance for getting through the “5 Steps of the Permit Process,” including helpful links and information regarding services, building code requirements. You can learn what you’ll need to proceed with the hiring professionals, the purpose and types of permits required for construction involving additions, alterations, or repairs to your principal place of residence. Also, should you have any questions you can call or visit your local Building and Safety District Office.

Electronic Permitting and Inspections for the County of Los Angeles (EPIC-LA), For the unincorporated areas, is the online portal to Building and Safety’s electronic permitting services. On this site, you can submit plans, specifications, and supporting documents for review and approval, pay permit fees and apply for a permit.

EPIC-LA

BSOP

Building and Safety Online Plan Check System, for Contract Cities, online plan check applications may be submitted via the BSOP Web Application.

5 Steps of the Permit Process

Application icon

01 Application

First step in the permit/plan check process for any building project

PlanCheck icon

02 Plan Check

Reviews of plans, documents for compliance with building codes

Permit icon

03 Permit

Legal go-ahead for specified construction; checklist for inspections

Inspection icon

04 Inspection

Certification that permitted work is safe and complete

Approval icon

05 Completion

When all permitted work is complete, inspected and signed-off

Application icon

01

Application

First step in the permit/plan check process for any building project

PlanCheck icon

02

Plan Check

Reviews of plans, documents for compliance with building codes

Permit icon

03

Permit

Legal go-ahead for specified construction; checklist for inspections

Inspection icon

04

Inspection

Certification that permitted work is safe and complete

Approval icon

05

Completion

When all permitted work is complete, inspected and signed-off

Homeowner Facts


Following are the “5 Steps of the Permit Process” for construction projects requiring a permit:

  1. Application :If it has been determined that a permit is required, (see Work Exempt from Permits), the permittee shall complete a permit application, pay plan check and/or permit fees, and when required submit plans and specifications for review. When necessary, the Building Official will give the permittee an Agency Referral Sheet. The applicant is responsible for obtaining the noted agency approvals prior to obtaining the permit.
  2. Plan Check:When a plan check is required* the review process will be either:
    • Over-the-counter Plan Check Typically, projects that can be plan checked in 15 minutes or less may be reviewed over the counter, during the morning office counter hours, or
    • Plan Taken in for Review Complex projects or projects at the discretion of the Building Official will be taken in and reviewed in the order it was received. Turn-around time may vary depending on the volume of plans submitted to an office.

    *Not all permit applications require a plan check, (Example, replacement of a residential water heater. No plan check required. The permit could be issued upon completion of the application and payment of permit fee).

  3. Permit Issuance: A permit can be issued once the permit application is completed, the plan check review is either approved or a plan check is not required, any required agency approvals are received, and the fees have been paid.
  4. Inspection : When the permitted work reaches a certain phase of construction the permit holder is required to call the Building and Safety District Office that issued the permit to schedule an inspection. An inspector will review the work for compliance with the requirements of the code(s), the approved plan, and the permit(s) scope of work.
  5. Project Complete : The project is complete once any required agency approvals have been obtained and the work covered by the permit(s) has passed final inspection, (inspection record card and permit(s) have been signed and dated). Additionally, for buildings and structures, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued by the Building Official.


All construction or work for which a building permit is required shall be subject to inspection by the Building Official and certain types of construction shall have continuous or periodic special inspection as specified in Chapter 17 of the County of Los Angeles Building Code.


An accurate detailed set of plans, specifications, and supporting documents is required for most construction projects. Hiring a California-licensed engineer or land surveyor will provide specialized knowledge regarding the principles of engineering, building code requirements, and local conditions including wind loads, snow loads, and earthquake activity. Additionally, a licensed engineer may be required to provide design, analysis, and evaluation of complex soil conditions, grading, foundation/site work, retaining walls, hydrology, structural elements, and mechanical or electrical systems. The resulting plans, specifications, and supporting documents are required to be signed and sealed (stamped) by the engineer. It is your choice as to which engineer you employ. The Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (BPELSG) can help you verify if an engineer is properly licensed and if any complaints or disciplinary action has been taken against them. For more information, the BPELSG can be contacted at (866) 780-5370 or via their website.


Plans, specifications, and supporting documents may be prepared by a licensed civil engineer, architect, or drafts-person. Structural elements of a plan must be reviewed and stamped by a licensed engineer.


The provisions of the Code are not intended to prevent the use of any material, appliance, installation, device, arrangement, design, or method of construction not specifically prescribed by the Code.

Upon receiving a written application, filing fee, and sufficient evidence or proof, the Building Official may approve any such alternate that is at least the equivalent of that prescribed in the Code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance and other life-safety factors, durability, planning and design, energy, material resource efficiency and conservation, environmental air quality, performance, water, and sanitation.


Most construction projects require the use of qualified, licensed contractors. It is your choice as to which contractor(s) you employ. You may contact the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) for information regarding licensed qualified contractors.


A property owner of a one- or two-family residence can obtain all required permits to construct, alter, add, improve or repair the principal place of residence or appurtenances thereto where none of the improvements are intended for sale within one year after completion, Business and Professions code (BPC) Section 7044.


Although construction permits can be issued in most cases directly to the property owner as an owner-builder, it is advantageous to have your construction permits issued to a licensed contractor so Building and Safety can verify the contractor’s license and insurance. Contractors may obtain permits based on their license classification. For detailed information regarding the Contractors State Licensing Board’s (CSLB) license classifications see the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) website.


A property owner of a one- or two-family residence acting as their own general contractor who either does the work themselves or has employees or subcontractors working on the project. The work site must be the owner-builder’s principal place of residence. See Contractors State License Board (CSLB) website and Business and Professions code (BPC) Section 7044 for more information regarding an owner-builder.


The Business & Professions Code (BPC), provides an exemption from licensure for minor work provided the aggregate contract price for labor, materials, and all other items, is less than $500. This exemption does not apply if the “minor work” is part of a larger project or major operation, whether undertaken by the same or a different contractor, or in which a division of the operation is made in contracts of amounts less than $500 for the purpose of evasion of hiring a duly-licensed contractor Business and Professions code (BPC) Section 7048.


When you sign a building permit application as an owner-builder, you assume full responsibility for all phases of your project and its integrity. The owner-builder is responsible for:

  1. Ordering materials and making sure all suppliers are paid.
  2. Obtaining all permits.
  3. Complying with the Building Codes.
  4. Passing all inspections.
  5. Supervising, scheduling, and paying licensed and unlicensed subcontractors.
  6. Being the employer for unlicensed subcontractors.
  7. Withholding state and federal income tax.
  8. Withholding federal Social Security taxes.
  9. Providing workers' compensation insurance.
  10. Disability insurance costs.
  11. Unemployment compensation contributions.

For more detailed responsibilities and rules regarding an owner-builder see the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) website


With your contractors hired and building permits issued, you are ready to start construction on your property. As construction proceeds, it is very important to keep in contact with your local Building and Safety District Office to request periodic inspections as you complete a phase of construction


A very important component of ensuring that your project meets building code and other requirements is to make sure that periodic inspections by Building and Safety are performed as you complete a phase of construction. At the start of the project, the permit and/or the inspection card will outline the construction steps that require inspection, additional inspections may be required at the discretion of the Building Official.


It is the permit’s holder's responsibility (in most cases, the licensed general contractor) to request periodic inspections. The permit holder must contact the local Building and Safety District Office at least one working day before the desired inspection. On the day of the inspection, the permit holder may call the inspector to determine a time that is convenient for both the permit holder and the inspector to meet at the site.


  • Plan Expiration: When no permit has been issued within 12 months following the date of permit application, the application shall expire. The Building Official may grant two extensions upon written request by the applicant and payment of fees.
  • Permit Expiration: The permit expires if the work has not started within 12 months from the date of permit issuance, or if the work lapses for more than 180 days at any time after the start of work. The permit may be granted one or more extensions of 180 days each, upon written request. When a permit expires, a new permit application shall be filed, and new plan check and permit fees shall be paid.


  • Plan Check fee refund: The plan check fee will be refunded only when it is verified that no review of the plan as taken place, in which case the refund shall be 80 percent of the plan check.
  • Permit fee refund: When it has been verified that no portion of the work or construction covered by a permit has commenced, and the permit has been canceled or expired, the permittee, may request in writing, a refund in an amount equal to 80 percent of the permit fee provided the request has been submitted no later than one year after the expiration date of the permit