Building & Safety Division (FAQ's)
- When is the new 2022 California Building Standards Code effective?
The new 2022 California Building Standards Code will become effective January 1, 2023. All Over-the-Counter permits issued after January 1, 2023, must comply with the new 2022 California Building Standards Codes. All projects submitted for plan check to the Building Division after January 1, 2023, must comply with the new 2022 California Building Standards Code.
- Construction Rules, Hours, and Holidays
- Violations and Penalties
113.1 Violations. No person shall erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert, demolish, equip, use, occupy or maintain any building, structure or building service equipment or perform any grading in the City or cause or permit the same to be done contrary to, or in violation of, any of the provisions of this code or any of the technical codes.
113.4 Penalties. Any person who violates any provision of this code or any of the technical codes shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for each and every day or portion thereof during which any violation continued or was permitted, and upon conviction is punishable as set forth in Section 1.08.010 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code.
113.5 Penalty fees. The permit fees and charges made pursuant to Title 15 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code shall be tripled (not including fees for nonstructural fixture) when work requiring a permit has been started or continued or finished prior to obtaining permit. The triple fee shall be based on the structural permit fee, or square footage of remodel area, or a minimum fee as established pursuant to city council resolution.
(Ord. 468 § 6 (part), 2008: Ord. 469U § 6 (part), 2007)
(Ord. No. 516, § 6, 12-7-10; Ord. No. 551, § 6, 12-17-13; Ord. No. 554U, § 6, 12-17-13; Ord. No. 589, § 5, 11-1-16; Ord. No. 630, § 5, 11-6-19; Ord. No. 669, § 7, 11-15-22)
- If my project was permitted under the 2019 California Building Standards Code and I need to revise my approved plans, which edition of the codes will be applicable?
It depends on the type of revisions being made. A simple minor clarification will not necessitate the need to revise the plans to comply with the new 2022 California Building Standards Code. A major change and/or addition to a project will need to comply with the new 2022 California Building Standards Code. Each specific case will need to be reviewed by the Building Department to determine which edition of the California Building Standards Code the revisions must comply with.
- Pool Modifications Requirements for Public or Multi-Family Dwellings
- Requires a Approval from the Recreational Waters Program/ La County Health department.
- Requires Planning Approval if pool is being altered in anyway or equipment is being changed or removed.
- A Building Permit is required for all alterations to a pool.
- My Permit has expired. What's next?
Plan checks for development projects where permits have expired for a period of less than one year shall be assessed a fee equal to half of the amount of the applicable plan check fee, as set forth in the resolution establishing said fee, if the plans that are being resubmitted are identical to the prior plans. Said fee shall be paid when the plans are re-submitted for review by the building official.
105.5 Expiration. Every permit issued by the building official under the provisions of the technical codes shall expire by limitation and become null and void, if the building or work authorized by such permit is not completed through final inspection within the allowed time from the date of issuance of such permit, which time shall be as follows: up to 5,000 square feet, 18 months; 5,000 to 10,000 square feet, 24 months; over 10,000 square feet, 30 months. For good cause, upon initial application for a permit, the building official may establish a different expiration date when it is anticipated such date will be necessary to complete construction due to extenuating circumstances. Upon expiration, before work under the permit can be recommenced, a new permit shall be obtained. Such new permit shall be valid for 24 months, and the fee therefore shall be one half the amount required for a new permit for such work, if no changes have been made or will be made in the original plans and specifications for the work and not more than one year has passed since the expiration of the permit; otherwise, such new permit shall be subject to all terms and conditions applicable to new permits.
Any permittee holding an unexpired permit may apply for an extension of the time within which the permittee may complete work under that permit when the permittee is unable to complete the work within the time required by this section although proceeding with due diligence. Application for extension shall be filed on forms prescribed by the building official and be accompanied by payment of the fee as established by city council resolution. The building official may extend the time for completion of work under the permit by the permittee for a period of time not exceeding 180 days upon finding the permittee has been proceeding with due diligence and that circumstances beyond the control of the permittee have prevented action from being completed. No permit shall be so extended more than once.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, for any property where construction has been performed pursuant to one or more unexpired permits for a period of at least four years and is adversely affecting adjacent properties or the owners or occupants thereof, as documented in written complaints submitted to the Building Official or Director of Community Development, the Building Official shall not issue a new building permit for any new work or an extension of an existing unexpired permit until all work being performed pursuant to any unexpired building permit has been completed and the City has issued a final approval or a certificate of occupancy thereof. This provision shall not apply to: 1. emergency work; 2. work that is necessary to preserve the integrity of the structure; or 3. work that, in the opinion of the Building Official, will mitigate impacts to an adjacent property.
- Who do I call if my building is in the unincorporated area, not the Rancho Palos Verdes?
The number of the Los Angeles County Building Division is (562) 946-1390. The number for the Department of Regional Planning is (213) 974-6411.
- Legalize Unpermitted Work
Unpermitted work is construction that doesn’t have the necessary approval by the city. This means the city either isn’t aware of the work, wouldn’t approve the work, or doesn’t know whether it is up to code. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes requires permits to be obtained for most types of construction and remodeling projects to ensure that the work done complies with local building codes and safety standards. However, there are occasions where the homeowners build without permits without city approval. Fortunately, The City of Rancho Palos Verdes allows getting a retroactive building permit if the work meets the minimum local codes and standards without demolishing the entire building or starting from scratch.
If a property owner can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the director that an unpermitted structure which is the subject of an after-the-fact application was constructed prior to the current property owner taking title to the property and was not disclosed by the previous property owners, then the penalty fees may be waived by the director.
- When Do I Need a Demolition Permit?
A permit is required to be issued by the Building and Safety Department, whenever a building is being demolished. This is to assure that construction debris has been removed, sewer or septic lines have been properly capped, and the site is restored to a safe condition to ensure that all health and safety hazards have been removed. Demolition permits are usually issued over-the- counter at the Building and Safety Division and the permit fees are minimal.
California State Law also requires that all contaminants, such as asbestos, lead, and soil contaminants, be properly disposed of. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that all demolition permit applicants first obtain clearance from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, prior to applying for a demolition permit from the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. This may include a requirement to have the property tested for lead, and/ or asbestos by a certified testing agency.
South Coast Air Quality Management District may be reached at 21865 Copley Dr. - Diamond Bar CA 91765, via telephone at (909) 396-2000, or the District’s website.
For further information, please contact the Building and Safety Division at (310) 544-5280 for additional information regarding demolition permits or stop by our counter at City Hall.
- Why do I need a building permit?
- Can I apply for a permit online?
Yes! All permits can be applied for online. Smaller permits can be applied
for through our eTrakit - Over the Counter Permitting Portal .These smaller permits
include: Electrical permits, HVAC, Solar, Electrical Panel Upgrades,
Re-Roofs, Plumbing permits, Water Heater* permits (*May need planning
approval prior to B&S Issuance*), etc.
-Kitchen and Bathroom Remodels, Exterior Door, Window & Skylight
Changeouts, ESS, etc can also be submitted for online “over-the-counter”
review when submitted to Buildingsafety@rpvca.gov .
-Any other reviews must be uploaded onto our online portal.
- When are permits needed?
PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS ARE REQUIRED FOR THE FOLLOWING:
- New Attached or Detached Buildings and Structures (Residential and Non-Residential) with a floor area greater than 120 square feet*
- Tenant Improvements
- Roof and Ground Mount Solar Installation
- Patio Covers (Solid and Lattice)
- Enclosed Patios
- Electric Charging Station
- Additions and Alterations
- Pools and Spas
- Carports, Garages and Barns
- Fences over 6 ft. in height
- Retaining Walls over 4 ft. in height, measured from the bottom of the footing or retaining walls supporting a surcharge.
- Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical and Structural Repairs
- Re-roofing (Residential and Non-Residential)
- Temporary structures such as a modular unit, recreational vehicle/trailer.
- Onsite Grading of 50 cubic yards (cut & fill) or more
- Erosion Control
- Wall or Monument Signs
- Other types of construction activities, not listed here, may require a permit. All building setbacks must be maintained, whether a building requires a permit or not. Please contact a representative of the Building and Safety Division at (310) 544-5280
- Where can I find the original plans for my house?
The County of Los Angeles Building Code requires that building plans be retained for a minimum of 90 days from the date of completion of the work covered on the plans. After 90 days, residential plans are typically discarded. The space required to store plans for every house built in the unincorporated county areas makes it prohibitive to keep them. One possible option for finding the as-built plans for any structure is to contact the original builder, designer, and/or engineer. This information can typically be found on the original building permit.
- What is the California Building Standards Code?
- Can plan check be done over the counter?
The Building Department only does non-structural plan check over the counter. This includes Kitchen Remodels, Bathroom Remodels, and Solar Plans. Solar Plans can be expedited through our
ETrakit-Online-Permitting-Portal . Kitchen and Bathroom Remodels can also be submitted for online as an “over-the-counter” review when submitted to BuildingSafety@rpvca.gov . Any other major type of reviews must be uploaded onto our online portal. Online-Plan-Check-Portal
Important Reminder: The Building & Safety Division and the Planning Division have separate requirements for the approval of retaining walls. These requirements apply to the Building & Safety portion only. All applicants must first inquire about the proposed project with the Planning Division at 310-544-5287 or via email at email@example.com.
Plans are REQUIRED for all walls requiring a building permit and must include:
- Engineering design calculations, stamped and signed by a licensed architect or civil engineer .
- Plans shall include site plan showing property line locations, street locations, location of the work, length of walls, setbacks to existing buildings, decks, fences, pools, PUE’s, etc.
- Plans shall include a construction section for the wall(s) showing materials, footings, reinforcement, height of wall, height and slope of backfill, drainage system, etc.
**An Encroachment Permit may be required from the Public Works Department for any walls located in the public right-of-way. Contact Public Works, at 310-544-5252.
5.Once steps 1-4 are completed and fees are paid, a building permit will be issued.
Please call for inspections at the following times:
1. When the footing excavations have been completed, the reinforcing steel has been securely tied into final position, and before the placement of concrete.
2. When the block has been laid and the reinforcing steel is in position, but before any grout has been placed. Steel is to be securely fastened in place to prevent movement during grouting. Lifts are not to exceed 6 feet high and blocks are not to be laid higher than the grout pour.
3. After grouting is completed and after rock or rubble wall drains are in place, but before backfill is placed.
4. When all work has been completed (Final Inspection).
Hiring a Contractor
Deciding whether to hire a contractor or be your own general contractor is an extremely important decision. Familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of each option before you decide. You may opt for the do-it-yourself route to save money, but don't forget to factor in the value of your time. Hiring a contractor will often get the job done sooner, as many subcontractors give small jobs a lower priority.
- Get several bids, and do not automatically go with the cheapest.
- Make sure the bids include the cost of plan checking and permit issuance.
- Call the Contractor's State License Board (800) 321-CSLB and verify the license is in good standing.
- Check the status of the Contractor's Bond.
- Verify that they have a current business license.
- Verify that their workers' compensation policy is current. Ask for and check references.
- Review the list of pros and cons of becoming an Owner/Builder (PDF)
- The CSLB web site has many helpful tips for working with contractors, including a list of questions to ask before hiring.
- Check on a License
Documents & Forms
- Best Management Practices Guide for Construction Sites Do's & Don'ts (PDF)
- Geology Application
- Construction Demolition Waste Form (PDF)
- Minimum Best Management Practices (BMPs)
- RPV Retaining Wall Checklist
- Retaining Wall Handout (PDF)
- Septic Tank Abandonments Procedures (PDF)
- Plan Check Application (PDF)
- Permit Application (PDF)
Questions or Concerns?
Tel: (310) 544-5280
Tel: (310) 544-5279
30940 Hawthorne Boulevard
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Monday - Thursday
7:30am - 5:30pm
(closed noon to 1pm)
7:30am - 4:30pm
(closed noon to 1pm)
Saturday - Sunday
Allowable Construction Hours
Monday - Friday
7am - 6pm
9am - 5pm
Sunday or State and Federal Legal Holidays:
Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code prohibit construction noise on holidays defined as “those days designated or observed as federal holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. No inspections will be conducted on those days.
No work allowed, unless a Special Construction Permit is obtained from the director. Said permit must be requested at least 48 hours before work.