Building Permit Expeditor & Entitlement Consulting

Nationwide Permit Expediting and Entitlement Services

Call 877-277-4289

You are here: Home >> News

Wednesday01 April 2015

Thursday, 26 March 2015 17:37

5 Ways to Hack LADBS Plancheck Process

Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

5 Ways to Hack LADBS's Plancheck Process 


Getting plans approved by a city or municipality is always a painful process. The number pulling, the lines, the random crazy person who always insists on sitting next to you...I digress. For most, Los Angeles' Department of Building and Safety is especially painstaking. In order to save you some heartache (and having to sit next to the crazy person-unless you are the crazy person at the city), here are 5 sure-fire ways to hack the plancheck process: 

1. Bring correct number of sets of plans for each trade. Below are the amount of copies you need of plans for each trade

(3) Sets of Architectural Plans (One for building, One for Disabled Access, One for structural review)
(2) Sets of Mechanical Plans
(2) Sets of Electrical Plans
(2) Sets of Plumbing Plans

For Food Establishments
(3) Sets for Health Department
(1) Copy of Menu
(1) Sets of Cut Sheets or product spec sheets

2. Separate checks for each trade (you can pay with one check, but separate checks helps things go more smoothly) This may sound like overdoing it, but when you are at the city I guarantee you are going to want to leave as soon as you either: a) get approved or b) need to address the comments made by the plan checker. 

3. Completed Applications for each trade. This one sounds obvious but it always the small details that kink up projects. Believe me, those city workers will look at the details! 

4. Structural Calculations for building department. Most people assume this has already been done, however always make sure these kinds of details are set and ready for your city official. Not only will the city official like you, and you want them to like you, they will also respect the project you are doing. 
5. If project is a food establishment, bring equipment specifications "Cut Sheets". If you are a restaurant owner this part will be the most arduous because, as you go through this process a lot of specifications will change. Keep a keen eye on your equipment and you will be thanking yourself later for it! 

Here are some other tidbits that help you hack the LADBS plancheck process:

• Address of project
•Owner's information
• Project valuation
• Architectural Engineers Information
• Know if you want project expeditited
• Add extra 50% to plancheck fee
*For Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing input number of fixtures 


For more information and to get specialized estimate for your project please contact us at: (818) 786-8960 or fill out the "Contact Us" form!

Last modified on Friday, 27 March 2015 20:42
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 16:35

Permit Service Story

Written by

Permit Expeditors do more than just run in your plans. 

As a Business Development Manager for a Nationwide Consulting firm, I understand the importance Customer Service plays to the growth and success of our business.  I was browsing the internet recently to look for examples  of great customer service I can share with my team and found a Facebook feed from back in January that really caught my attention. 

A 7-year-old boy spent his Christmas money on a Lego Set.  After one of his characters went missing, the boy sent a letter to Lego asking if the company would replace the figurine.  Not only did Lego replace the lost toy, but a customer service representative responded promptly with a kind note and sent extra mini figures for the boy to enjoy.

When the note and toys arrived, the boy’s father was so excited to see the smile on his son’s face that he posted a tweet with an image of the company’s communication for all to see.  Well this tweet got the attention of the social sphere and the story went viral.  The Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and others covered the story.  Yahoo news even wrote “That’s how companies score lifelong customers.”

This simple Lego story is a great lesson I brought back to my team which is that when clients advocate on your behalf, it’s a powerful way to build business. See we all crave that extra reinforcement and that’s why social media plays such a vital role today.  One post or tweet can make or break a company in minutes.

In order to achieve these kinds of social media wins, you must have the right customer service system in place.  Permit Place does.  Our 12-person team obtained approvals on roughly 684 projects last year with 112 of them requiring some sort of Entitlement such as a Conditional Use Permit, Variance or Zone Change, up about 25% from the previous year.  We have achieved this growth by focusing on putting our clients at the center of every aspect of our business. 

Similar to Lego, our team at Permit Place receives dozens of customer requests a day for assistance with upcoming projects.  Our staff understands that in order to retain our clients we must provide great customer service.  How Permit Place differs from the competition is that we are able to align our company culture with that of the client.  We also provide a consistent level of service and are able to persevere through difficulties.  

If you want to know how we can help permit your project to success, contact us today at 818-786-8960.

Friday, 30 August 2013 19:04

What to do when the city says no

Written by
Rate this item
(3 votes)

It never fails. You have a multi-million dollar idea of putting a particular business at a particular location. The corner is perfect. The demographics suit the nature and demand of the store, service or restaurant. There is just one big problem-the city is not on board. Just what can be done when a city (township, borough, village, county or parish) is not inclined to allow your project?

First off, you cannot hear a “no” without first proposing a question. So you would undoubtedly speak to and present your proposal to city staff and they would give you a reason for the denial. Are you proposing a commercial business in a residential zone? Is your proposed use not allowed in a particular zone?  They would cite a code (if they don’t, ask them to) and then you could do your own research

  • Research – Is the information that city staff is telling you accurate?

Remember the person at a city counter can make a mistake. There may be exceptions within the code that they were not aware of and fail to inform you of. They may have even mistyped the address and given you the wrong development criteria. Double-check their work! Often the city code is online and accessible for you to do your own homework.

Second, if your project is not an allowable use, find out if the project can be done using planning tools such as a variance or conditional use permit (a.k.a. CUP).

  • Exceptions – Can I do this via a variance or conditional use permit?

In virtually all jurisdictions, you can propose whatever you would like to build; however, you would also do well to get feedback on whether said variance/CUP would be supported or not by the city code before vesting in the site.

Next, if your proposed use is not allowed by right or does not qualify for a variance or CUP you can always move up the departmental ladder to get help. In departments, the highest ranking official is usually the Senior Planner or Planning Director.  If your proposed project does not meet the code or gain their support, your next alternative is to approach legislative bodies to seek a code amendment, or legislative solution to get your project approved.  Examples of legislative bodies include, City Council, the Mayor’s office, the economic development lead agency or the Planning Commission.  The legislative route best suites large developments that can boast public benefits such as new revenues and job creation.  The political machine tends to favor projects that generate tax revenue and jobs.

While this list is not necessarily exhaustive, it should provide you a foundation of some of the options to receive the “blessings” from city staff for your project.  One must also realize that there is still the possible reality that a project cannot be built at all. If it does not fall under the jurisdiction’s criteria for that zone, cannot be built according to building codes, and cannot be achieved through any sort of variance, you’ll have to face the facts that the project simply cannot be built.

James Matthews serves as a Senior Project Manager at Permit Place, a national building permit and land entitlement solutions provider. James may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last modified on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 12:53
Friday, 30 August 2013 18:57

Permit Success With A Positive Attitude

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Get permits done and have some fun!

In the permitting world, it is imperative that your project is not just another stack of papers sitting on someone's desk waiting to be reviewed – or forgotten - when trying to stay on budget and on schedule.  Not only should you have a personal connection with the city, but the city should have a personal connection with you and your project! 

You never want to be just "another number" in the stack of dozens and dozens of plan checks.  This can be accomplished by utilizing your communication skills and personality to shine through the permitting process.  Break through the mold and turn "Project #123" into "Permit Place's Project", for example!

Supplies Needed

1.    Pro-Active Attitude

2.    Personable Presence

3.    Persistent Communication


1.    Do your research - be sure to do your exploration of the jurisdiction before bombarding the reviewer with a laundry list of questions. This can be done through the process of elimination – find out what's available online to answer the simple questions and help narrow in on the important ones. By familiarizing yourself with the available information, it will assist in, not only asking the right questions, but the important questions!  In doing this, it will break the monotony of the question-answer structure of the dialog to more of an easy-going (and fun) conversation.

2.    First impressions are lasting impressions – be confident in the subject, be friendly and, if appropriate, be funny!

3.    Be persistent – Be sure to follow-up and not get pushed-down to the bottom of the priority list.  You don't want to smother the reviewer, but always make yourself available to answer any questions or provide additional information. This will help streamline the review and give your project a face or at minimum a voice.

Getting permits are not easy and sometimes not fun, but when time is money and a budget is critical... communication will be the key to success.  Break the boring dullness of plan check-in and plan check-out.  It's ok to lighten things up and be fun – its builds the relationship... and in some cases, creates a friendship!  Persistence will preserve the communication channels for the course of the project, and will keep your project on track with preventing fires rather than having to put them out! If you have yet to be comfortable with these instructions, have no fear, Permit Place will gladly do the job – it's just a matter of working with our friends at the City (again)!  We love to talk and we walk the walk!

Last modified on Thursday, 26 March 2015 21:50

So you finally decided to take the plunge and plow your savings into a franchise restaurant concept.  Excellent move.  Franchise systems can help first time business owner's make the transition from employee to owner status.  What you may not have anticipated was how long and complicated the construction permit process can take.  

For example, if you are signing a lease for a space did you know that if the space you are leasing was not a restaurant before, you may be forced to wait weeks or even months to receive a building permit? The reason is that you are changing the use of the space from a retail space to a restaurant space.  This requires a different set of rules that you have to follow to ensure that there is parking, seating, health permits, and even a conditional use permit if you are serving beer and wine.  All of the permits and regulations can be overwhelming for a first time franchise owner. Fortunately, if you want to get to opening as soon as possible, building permit expediting consultants or building permit expediters may be your secret weapon to getting open earlier with a minimum amount of hassle.  

Building permit expediting is the process of focusing on the building codes, approval process and requirements necessary to get the permit through more quickly than if it was left on it's own.   Many architects supply building permit expediting as a service but what is not known is that architects don't typically complete this work in house.  They will hire building permit expediting firms called permit expediters to complete the process.  

The key is to get building permit expediting from a company that is local or has local people and has completed projects in that city or county or state before.  You also would want to make sure that they have had experience with your type of project, converting a retail space to a restaurant and has good relationships at the building department.  By going with a professional company that has plenty of experience when it comes to construction as well as the local building regulations and codes, you can be sure to get the building permit that you need with a significantly smaller waiting time than if you were to go the standard route.

For you, this means being able to break ground on your new construction sooner rather than later, which will not only save you time but money as well. From there, you can get your building erected and have it fully functional weeks or even months sooner than you would have by going through the standard process of applying for a building permit.

Friday, 10 May 2013 18:53

What is a building permit expediter

Written by

What is a building permit expediter

Issued building permits for both residential and commercial projects have jumped in recent years thanks to easy financing and an interest in starting delayed building projects.  What’s different this time is that homeowners have started using a secret weapon used by commercial developers for years.  That secret weapon is hiring building permit expediters to help their projects through the City permit process.  Building permit expediters are consultants that play a behind-the-scenes role in helping get permits through City Hall.  Basically, building permit expediters get paid to understand the local building codes and advise the owner’s, architects and engineers on how to get their building projects approved more quickly.  Building permit expediters will go to City Hall and wait for their clients to see City Officials and discuss blueprint revisions with plan examiners.  Building Permit Expediter also have extensive Planning experience an will be paid to represent their clients at zoning, architectural review and variance hearings.

The building permit expediter role is typically that of a facilitator between the City’s staff and how staff may interpret their local building and zoning codes and the owner or the owner’s consultants such as Architects.  The building permit expediter may even work on behalf of the owner’s architect rather than the architect themselves as it often represents a cost savings to the owner and helps keep their architect’s overhead costs down.   Rather than keep an expensive Land Use Planner and Code Consultant on staff, an architect can simply hire a building permit expediter’s to augment their permanent staff as their “insider” and these costs can passed onto their client rather than in their overhead.  A building permit expediter will typically work with hundreds of projects within hundreds of different cities, counties and departments within these entities.  This gives a building permit expediter a unique “inside” perspective and the owner can then have helping to guide the costs and scope of the project. Having someone on your side who has a good relationship and familiarity with local officials and the process is the most effective way to ensure that permits arrive quickly instead of in months.
Building permit expediters typically charge by the hour or by the project.  Buiding permit expediters used to be used more as “paper-pushers” before the big housing bust.  These days, they are typically multi-disciplined professionals that do more than act as a courier.  A good building permit expediter should have one or more certifications in real estate development and have experience in both zoning and building code interpretation.  Now, expediters are increasingly hired by engineers, architects and owners to advise them on complex problems like how to interpret zoning code to allow more square footage within a parcel or how to get all the documents in perfect order so that the project is accepted for submittal the first time.  Like lawyers, expediters can bill by the hour or the project and usually retain a computer like memory of the current city codes and can negotiate for you from a place of knowledge with high-level officials. Expediters work best when brought in early and assigned the role to assist the architect in anticipating any design issues might pop up.

"Expediting is now becoming more like a Code Consulting than ever before.” States Mike Robinson, President of Permit Place, a Building Permit Expediting firm based out of Los Angeles. “Building Permit Expediters are becoming more and more accepted as professionals that can contribute significantly to reduce time and costs to the homeowner.”  If you want to be successful with your home improvement project, I would strongly suggest at least speaking to an expediter.” 

Many building permit expediters will tell you what they know about a City or County’s process before you have to commit to hiring them.  They usually perform minor research or due diligence on the property in question and should provide you with a small report about what it will take to permit your project, how long, what applications and what the costs will be. 

Thursday, 02 May 2013 23:31

What's the Planning Commission

Written by

A Planning Commission consist of residents of a community whose members are appointed by cities or counties elected officials for a term established by the jurisdiction where they serve.  The commission promotes the health, safety and general welfare by encouraging the most appropriate use of the land. 


They undertake long-range planning for development that includes preparation and maintenance of the general, specific and area plans, as well as reviewing Environmental Impact Reports and capital improvement projects.  Their short-range planning efforts include zoning matters dealing with land use changes, rezones, subdivision and parceling of land, special and conditional use permits, and variances.     


Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the council or supervisors, so commission membership changes in response to changes in those bodies.


The commission usually considers several items at each meeting, considering each proposal separately and taking acting before moving on to the next item.  Their decision may be referred to the city council as a recommendation for action or considered a final action unless appealed to the council or board.


Elected officials may assign tasks to its planning commission.  Such tasks include:

    Assist in writing the general plan and community or specific plans

    Annual review of jurisdiction’s capital improvement program and public works projects of other local agencies

    Undertake special planning studies

    Promote public outreach

    Report to the elected officials  on the conformity of public land acquisition or disposal


The commission is the elected official’s advisor on land use planning.  The elected official may choose to follow the recommendation of the commission or not.  They can even reverse or modify commission actions or send proposals back to them for further review.  Their decisions are subject to appeal.  Remember the council and board have the final say in all city and county matters.


Therefore, an effective Planning Commission shares the following qualities:

    Ability to focus on the zoning or planning matter under consideration

    Clear view of the big picture of what’s happening in the city or their district and not being bogged down in excessive attention to minor details

    Informed commissioners by reading reports and documents prior to the meeting

    Attention to basic legal requirements in mind such as general plan consistency, meeting all applicable requirements, elimination or reduction of environmental impacts, and etc,

    An open flow of ideals and discussion among all involved parties, including being objective and asking lots of questions





Friday, 03 April 2015 21:31

Whats a conditional use permit

Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

What's a conditional use permit?

Def. A conditional use permit is a discretionary permit.  That is, a permit that, although allowed in a particular zoning district, are only permitted under certain conditions, is granted at the discretion of the governing body and is typically revocable. 

In order to secure these discretionary or conditional decisions, the business or land owner must formally propose what they plan to use the property for and then the Planning Staff, Commission or Hearing Officer must review these applications through an administrative or public hearing process.  If the governing body does not think the proposed use is consistent with the zoning of the property, they may deny or delay the application.  They also or approve the use conditionally with a conditional use permit..  

This means that along with the approval, they may impose strict conditions upon which you are allowed to operate.  Failure to go along with these conditions can get you conditional use permit revoked and the business owner or landlord would no longer be allowed that use.

What would be an example.   An example of such a conditional use permit would be a local neighborhood restaurant that wants to serve beer and wine to their customers.  The conditional use permit would allow the sale of on site consumption of beer and wine only on premises.  

If the restaurant subsequently started to have dancing, with live music and patio service, and those activities are not included in the application for Conditional Use, then the business owner may be in violations of the conditions that allowed them the beer and wine sales for on site consumption only.  They did not include patio service, bottle service, dancing and live music in the conditional use application.

  • Written governmental permission allowing a use inconsistent with zoning but necessary for the common good, such as locating an emergency medical facility in a predominantly residential area.


  • Authorizes uses not routinely allowed on a particular site and generally subject to certain conditions


  • is given to certain classes of land use the are not permitted by right in some or all zones of the county, but are nevertheless recognized as being desirable to the full function of the county under appropriate circumstances. ...


  • A process which provides for public input and review of certain uses which require special consideration because of their unique site development requirements and operating characteristics. CUP is a means of regulating the use of property in a zone where they are not permitted by right. ...


  • a grant approved by a planning and Zoning Commission allowing, with conditions, a special use of property that is the public interest.


  • means a document signed by the administrator specifying the requirements for which a conditional use may be permitted within a parcel. A conditional use is a use permitted within a district other than a permitted use.


  • Legal authorization to undertake a conditional use, issued by the administrative official pursuant to authorization by the Board of Adjustment consisting of two parts:


  • A permit, with conditions, allowing an approved use on a site outside the appropriate zoning class.
Last modified on Monday, 30 March 2015 15:42
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 20:43

What is a building permit

Written by
Rate this item
(2 votes)

A building permit contains information concerning a construction projects compliance to the applicable building codes for residential or commercial structures.

Building codes are enforced by municipalities for these projects in order to ensure that safety and aesthetic designs adhere to certain covenant restrictions required by their municipal code within those specific locations.


It is very import to obtain the proper building permit for all construction related projects. One reason that permits are required is so that the government can maintain proper safety regulations for all types of public and private property. The second most important concern is that permits allow builders and contractors to learn how to best employ applicable building safety codes on every level.


Owners, builders, developers and contractors or anyone else concerned with a construction project are expected to follow building permit rules and regulations so that structures are safe to occupy. Electricians, plumbers and others will secure what are sometimes called trade permits.

It is a common to believe that building permits are only required when buildings are being constructed. However, many areas require that a building permit be in place even when making improvements or repairs, improvements or additions to structures.


Depending upon the amount of construction that is going on in any given area, permit applications can take as long as 4 weeks on average to review. Also, there are times when permits will not be accepted by relevant officials for certain reasons. When this occurs, builders will receive notification including the changes necessary so that the building permit may be granted.

Since performing construction work without a permit usually results in a fine, it is critical to ensure that all necessary documentation is in place prior to embarking upon any property improvement or construction project.

Building permits and building code is as old as civilization itself. The ancient kingdom of Babylonia had a building code called the Code of Hammurabai that laid out how the builders of the day could construct the different buildings.

Lately the trend in building permits have been to issue them online. Depending on the city or county where they live, Homeowners can often apply for simple permits online such as dishwasher, water heater, window and re-roofing permits. These permits are generally easy to secure and only require a minimum amount of time and effort to secure.

Permit Place is a building permit expediting and code consulting firm based in Los Angeles. If you have more questions about building permits, please contact us.

Last modified on Monday, 06 May 2013 22:35
Rate this item
(2 votes)

Open Your Business Faster with Building Permit Expediting

Are you eager to open your new business, only to find out that you may have to wait weeks or even months to receive a building permit? If so, then you know just how frustrating this can be. Fortunately, if you want to get to building as soon as possible, there are some steps that you can take to get the permit that you need without as much of a wait.

The key is to get building permit expediting from a company that you can trust, which you can find right at this website. By going with a professional company that has plenty of experience when it comes to construction as well as the local building regulations and codes, you can be sure to get the building permit that you need with a significantly smaller waiting time than if you were to go the standard route.

For you, this means being able to break ground on your new construction sooner rather than later, which will not only save you time but money as well. From there, you can get your building erected and have it fully functional weeks or even months sooner than you would have by going through the standard process of applying for a building permit.

So why wait longer if you do not have to? Get your building permit expedited by trusting your permit application to a team of dedicated and experienced construction professionals. You will be happy you did when you have your permit in no time.

Last modified on Monday, 06 May 2013 22:38
Page 1 of 8