Building Services is responsible for reviewing construction plans for compliance with building codes; issuing permits; inspecting building construction; administering and enforcing building construction codes; ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations; and providing general building information.

Most residential, commercial and industrial construction and demolition work whether it be new construction, an addition, remodel, repair or alteration requires a building permit. For example: signs, banners, fences, re-roofs, electrical upgrades, plumbing upgrades, window change outs all require a permit.

Permit Application Forms & Fees
To view or print out a copy of the building permit application form, simply double click on the type of permit you are seeking. A combination permit is not available to accommodate a multiple trade construction project. For building permit fees, please click the Fee Schedule Resolution for additional information.

When some portion of the proposed work includes construction or alteration of the sidewalk, alley or public street, a permit is also required from the Engineering Division of the Public Works Department.

To assist you through the permitting process, provided below are examples of the most frequently asked questions:


Where do I go to obtain a Building Permit?
The Planning Division, Permits & Licenses Division & Building Division of the Community Development Department is located in City Hall, Room 101, 1700 W. 162nd Street in Gardena. Planners are available to answer simple questions and otherwise assist you on by appointment only from Monday through Thursday between 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 

What is the cost of a building permit?
Permit and plan review fees are based on the valuation of the project, which includes construction, finish work, painting, roofing, plumbing, and any other permanent equipment. For more information, call the Permit Technician at (310) 217-9530 or refer to City Fee Schedule listed above.

Who can take out a permit?
Permits can be taken out only by properly licensed individuals (Section 7031.5 California Business ad Professional Code) or individuals specifically exempt (Section 7044) from the provision of the Contractors State License Law.

  • Property state license contractor, with a valid state contractors license and current City Business License.
  • Owner / builder of a residential or commercial property on which the project is proposed, provided that he / she signs and marks the declaration on permit stating they are:

a. Owner of property doing the work themselves or using employees with wages as sole compensation to do the work and that the structure is not intended to be offered for sale. (If owner decides to sell the property he or she must reside in the premises for 1 year after completion of the project. He or she can improve only two properties in any three year period; or

b. As owner of the property, he/she will contract with only licensed contractors to preform the work and the contractor(s) shall possess a current business license.

Worker’s Compensation Certificate Requirements
Prior to permit issuance, a valid certificate of Worker’s Compensation Insurance or a Certificate of Consent to Self Insure, issued by the Director of Industrial Relations must be filed with the Building Office.

Exempt from this requirement are:

  • Jobs in which materials and labor are less than $500
  • The contractor’s license has an exempt certification
  • Owner builder signs a statement specifying “I certify that in the performance of the work for which this permit is issued, I shall not employ any person in any manner so as to become subject to the workmen’s compensation laws of California.

Construction is a substantial financial investment, which can be seriously jeopardized by non-complying construction. Work done without required permits is not only illegal, but will create problems when you try to sell your property. Fire and homeowner’s insurance coverage for work done without a permit may be invalidated.

Why do I need a permit?
There are many reasons for obtaining building permits for construction.
Taking out a permit provides you the services of a plan check engineer who will make sure that the plans are complete, that the plans comply with accepted engineering principles, and that the plans meet state minimum construction standards and a building inspector to perform inspections to make sure that construction is consistent with the plans and minimum standards for construction technique.

When are permits required and are there any exceptions?
Most residential, commercial and industrial construction and demolition work whether, new, addition, remodel or alteration need permits. Signs, banners, fences, re-roofs, electrical upgrades, plumbing upgrades, window change outs all require permits.

The most common exceptions to the building permit requirement are:

  • Construction of decks and platforms less than thirty inches high not attached to dwelling, open walkways and driveways
  • Installation of ceramic tile on floor and counter tops and on walls not more than 69 inches high and not in showers or tubs
  • Prefabricated swimming pools that do not exceed 24 inches in depth/5,000 gallon capacity, without electrical or plumbing fixtures
  • Construction of cases, counters and partitions less than five feet nine inches (5’9″) high
  • Painting, papering and similar finish work
  • One-story detached accessory buildings used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the roof area does not exceed 120 sq. feet

Can I get permits by mail or online?
Not at this time. However, all permit application forms are available on this web page. (See Above)

How long does it take to obtain a building permit?
Simple permits can be issued over the counter (same day) without a plan check on some of the simpler projects if they are properly documented. For more complex projects, permits are issued upon approval of plans by all applicable agencies. For the Building and Safety Division, the first plan check takes 10 business days and plans corrections take 5 business days to review. Most plans must be reviewed and approved by Planning, Public Works, L.A. County Fire Department, and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). In some cases Los Angeles County Industrial Waste, Los Angeles County Health Department and other agencies must endorse the plans. The applicant is notified via Microsoft Teams when plans have been approved by all applicable agencies or when the review has been completed and corrections are required.

How long are permits valid?
Permits are valid for 1 year. 1 year from the date of issuance or after 1 year has elapsed without substantial progress as substantiated by a city inspection, the permit shall become null and void. Permits must be obtained to continue construction.

When are plans required to be submitted?
Plans are used to cost out a job, get estimates from subcontractors, show how proposed construction will comply with building codes and to obtain necessary permits. Plans must show sufficient site and construction details for a worker to build directly from them. The city requires plans for all construction.

Do I need to hire an engineer, architect or surveyor?
By law certain types, scope and complexity of construction will demand services of licensed technical professionals. Generally, a California licensed engineer or architect should be hired to design new buildings and remodels which require more extensive plans, calculations, and technical reports, such as:

Lot survey map – signed by licensed land surveyor or civil engineer
Reports by an appropriately state licensed person may be required at the time of plan check for the following:

  • Soils report for new buildings or major remodels
  • Design calculations and details for the building structural system,
  • Shoring of vertical cuts over 5′ high
  • Electrical systems for services 600 amps or more
  • Title 24 energy calcs (new buildings, additions).
  • Acoustical engineering reports

Why do we need a plan check?
Plan checks are an independent review of plans, calculations and reports performed by a plan check engineer. The submittal is reviewed for mandatory requirements such as: structural safety, fire protection, energy conservation, exit requirements, light and ventilation, grading and disabled access, and development standards.

How long does it take to go through plan check before I can pull permits?
Plans are reviewed on a first come, first served basis. Every project is unique and presents a different combination of requirements and clearances. However, this is the process that the city goes through to make sure your investment is consistent with city regulations and policies. Part of the permit issuance process involves circulating the plans through other city departments for review of the regulations they enforce. Staff will inform you of clearances required from County, Special District, State or Federal agencies. The applicant is responsible for obtaining those clearances. Permits are issued upon approval of plans. Permits are issued Monday through Thursday between 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Listed below is a number of common project examples and the various steps that are taken to complete the “plan check” process:

  • Patios: Most unenclosed patios, with standard construction techniques consistent with city standard handout need only to undergo a review by building and planning.
  • Single Family Residential: For most single family residential projects, plans are reviewed by Building plan checker for compliance with building codes, planner for compliance with zoning regulations, fire prevention for compliance with fire codes and public works for compliance with master plan of streets and highways, and condition of abutting public right-of-way.
  • Business tenant improvements: Projects vary widely in terms of requirements and clearances. Businesses involving food, medical services, auto related services, personal care (hair & nails) and car washes may require County health and or County industrial waste clearances. Handicap accessibility regulations apply to changes in tenant spaces that involve construction.

What is required to be on Plans? Can I get an over-the-counter review of my plans?
All plans are reviewed by our Plan Check staff who make every attempt to review your plans in a timely manner. However, depending on the project, reviews by other departments and agencies may be required as well. Over-the-counter plan reviews are available for properly documented fences, refuse enclosures, wall signs, and some other small projects, which have been prepared with enough information to show conformance with the code(s) and other ordinances of this City and do not require review by other departments or agencies.

Minimum information on building plans are as follows:

  • Standard format for plans is: ¼” per foot scale for floor, foundation, sections and elevations; 1/8″ per foot for site/plot plans, all on 24″ x 36″ paper.
  • Site plan must include the lot lines and dimensions, legal description, all existing buildings and structures, proposed construction, distance from building to property lines, location of fences/walls, fixed utility equipment.
  • Floor plan showing room locations, sized and uses; doors, location and size of windows, stairs, location and size of windows, stair, sizes and spacing of all structural members.
  • Elevations illustrating the building’s exterior appearance, architectural features, height, chimneys.
  • Two structural sections, showing the building foundation, floor systems walls, and roof as it would appear if it was cut in two at a particular plan.
  • Electrical, mechanical and plumbing plans showing the size of equipment, wiring switches and fixtures.
  • Disabled access plans are required for additions, alterations and repairs to existing commercial buildings, such as tenant improvements and new buildings.
  • General information and specification sheet for material and workmanship.
  • Foundation plan showing foundation layout and dimension sizes, reinforcement and detail of anchor bolts, etc.

Does the City have copies of plans for my property?
Standard correction sheets are available at our customer service counter which summarize many important requirements and may assist in completing your plan.

The City has most multi-family residential, commercial and industrial building plans on microfiche. We have begun to microfiche single family and two unit residential buildings. The microfiche can be viewed during normal business hours. Authorization to duplicate plans is required from the architect of record and the current property owner.