Residential Building Permit Process Overview

Starting a Home improvement project no matter the size of it is very exciting but can also be overwhelming, especially if you don’t get professional assistance in this process and try to do everything yourself.

In these interesting economic times is a good time to build, as the prices for materials and labor have become lower.

The first thing you need to do to start the permit process, before hiring any Builder, Architect or Designer is visit your local Planning – Building department and briefly discuss the plans you have in mind to see if your idea/s are in compliance with the Community development plans and Ordinances. IECC This visit is not mandatory but highly recommended.

Here are some points that you might want to find out with the Permit technician before you start your building permit process:

What are the setbacks requirements (clearance to each side of the property line)?
What is the maximum building height?
Will you need to provide extra parking spaces?
What would be approximately the plan checking and Building permit fees?
Also, is very important to know if your property is located in any specific plan area. For instance let’s say your property is located in a historic district, changing completely the facade of your house will not be allowed.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this step yourself most Architects or designers do this research for a minimal fee or even as a complimentary service included in their contract. Once you know what you are allowed to build, the next step in the building permit process is to obtain a set of construction plans preferably prepared by a local Architect or Designer.

Then you will be ready to apply for your building permit or formally submit these set of plans to your Building department for review, this step will take a few days or weeks depending upon the size, type of construction and load of work pending at the local office.

While waiting for your building permit to be issued, (which is the last step in your building permit process) you can start getting bids from local builders.

Hope you find this building permit process overview helpful!

Frances Funez resides in Los Angeles, CA and has been an Architectural designer for the last 9 years; if you need assistance through these building permit process she can gladly help you from sketches/design to construction plans approval. She is very familiar with each city’s zoning code in L.A. County and with what each city will allow you to build.