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Researching L.A. County Building Permits PDF Print E-mail
Written by PreserveLA Editor   
Saturday, 01 November 2003

All buildings and structures that are erected in the unincorporated portions of the Los Angeles metro area fall under the jurisdiction of the County of Los Angeles. Just like municipal governments, the County has its own rules and regulations governing the construction and rehabilitation of homes and buildings. Building permits are issued by the County Department of Public Works, and the permitting and inspection processes are similar to what you'd find in an incorporated city. For us, this means there are records for the construction and alteration of historic properties.

To obtain Los Angeles County Building permits, one must first identify the building & safety branch office of the Public Works Department that is responsible for overseeing work in your neighborhood. Visit the LA County Public Works webpage to see a list of the building & safety offices. If you are unsure which office has jurisdiction for your neighborhood, be sure to call and double check. The last thing you want to do is arrive at the building & safety office just to find that you are in the wrong place. The individual branch offices only have permit records for buildings in their own areas. You will also want to confirm that your property is within an unincorporated area. Otherwise, you may find yourself being sent to a nearby city.

Once you have determined which branch office holds the permit records for your property, a visit is in order. The branch offices handle the issuance of new building permits, plan checks, inspections, and other planning related activities, so be ready to wait in line. When you arrive, go to the permitting counter and sign-in. On the sign-in sheet there will be a place to indicate that you are there to look at permit records. Otherwise, you will need to tell the counter attendent (this might also provide for faster service). Note that some offices may also use the term "historical building permits."

When it is your turn, the counter attendent will ask for the addresses of the properties you are interested in. The file you receive will most likely contain one or more microfiches, which tend to contain the older permits, and more recent permits in paper form. Investigate these permits to obtain the information you seek.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 22 October 2006 )