Los Angeles building codes are among the most complicated, rigorous, and time-consuming in the United States. Complying with them entails getting the approval of numerous agencies, just to commence work in the first place. The following is a look at some of the departments you may have to deal with.
Public Works Department
This agency will review your plans for potential flood hazards and storm drainage issues. If this office decides that the area in which you want to build is flood-prone, it can deny your request altogether, or require expensive modifications to your plans. The department can also disapprove your plans if it foresees issues related to grading or soil conditions.
Geo-Technical and Materials Engineering Division
You may have to deal with this office if your plans might possibly affect geological stability or soil conditions in the area that you want to build in. Your plans might be denied by this department altogether, unless you can prove that you have the wherewithal to deal with any concerns it has.
You’ll visit this office to get your encroachment permit, which you will need for any work within public rights-of-way, such as curb breaks.
Regional Planning Department
If you’re planning to build in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles, then this office will evaluate your plans. The officials will want to see that they meet all applicable regulations involving zoning, height, lot locations, number of stories, vehicular access, and parking spaces.
Los Angeles County Fire Department
Before you can erect a structure in Los Angeles, the fire department must determine whether it will be able to tap into sufficient water resources to extinguish the flames, in case it ever burns down. The local water purveyor will make this determination. If he or she says that not enough water can be locally accessed, then you will need to see the people at the Plan Check Unit, to see if you can get a variance on this requirement. In addition, this department must also approve all projects proposed in buffer fire zones, Fire Zone 4, or areas rated as Very High Hazard Severity Zones.
If you will be using a private septic system (as opposed to city sewers), then this department will review your plans to ensure that they meet its requirements. Their decision will be based on soil percolation tests, geo-technical reports, and dwelling floor plans.
Local School District
You will be dealing with these people if the city determines that you owe developer fees for new residential housing units or expansions of existing ones.
Los Angeles County Public Libraries Department
If you’re planning to build in an unincorporated part of Los Angeles, then you’ll be issuing payments to this department before your permit is approved.
Los Angeles County Sanitation District
You’ll visit these people when you write out your check to them to be connected to the city sewage system.
The California Coastal Commission
If the land you wish to build in is designated as a “coastal zone,” then you must first obtain the necessary permits from this department. If you’re unsure whether or not your property falls within coastal zone, then you will need to visit your local Building and Safety Office for clarification.
We Could Go On, and On, and On…
But we think you get the point. Complying with Los Angeles building codes is nearly impossible without the help of highly experienced permit expeditors like the ones at Burnham Nationwide. We can guide your building request through the nearly-endless maze of departments, offices, fees, permits, and inspections required. Contact Burnham today to get the process started.