How Long Does It Take to Get a Restaurant Building Permit in LA?

 
This resource is an expert from our Complete Guide to Los Angeles Restaurant Permits. Visit this page for everything you need to know about getting permits reviewed and approved quickly.

Staying on-time and on-budget is critical when building a new restaurant in Los Angeles. To ensure your project stays on track, you need to know how long the process takes.

While both the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) and County of Los Angeles Public Health are staffed by good people who want to see good things happen in their neighborhoods, they have a lot of other projects to manage. It is your responsibility to make their job as easy as possible and have everything they need ready when they need it.

Generally speaking, expect the process from plan submission to ready-to-issue (RTI) permit to take between two and four months, but it’s a good idea to plan for more.

 

The Process and Timing of Getting Your Permits

Here’s a quick look at the high-level steps in this process and how long each one tends to take.

  1. Preliminary Plan Review: This step is not a required one, but conducting a preliminary plan review is recommended since it can streamline reviews later. You’ll want to submit one set of drawings to get code interpretations early. An appointment must be requested and will be fulfilled approximately 5-15 business days after request. This step will reduce the risk of a third submittal and answer LADBS Green and LADBS Specific ADA questions.
  2. Building and Structural Plan Review: The same person will handle building and structural reviews. These reviews will take place 5 to 10 days after they are assigned. You may ask for an expedited review, but they come with additional fees.
     
    Pro Tip
    At the LADBS, plans are assigned and distributed to staff on Fridays. Submitting before noon on Thursday can reduce plan review time by one week.
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  4. Response from Architectural Engineer (AE) Professional: Ask your architect or engineer how long they typically take to respond to comments. Usually, this can take anywhere from 5 to 10 days, depending on the kind of work revisions that need to happen.
  5. Health Plan Review: You will need to submit a copy of your menu, equipment cut sheets, and equipment list, as well as a materials’ surface sample board to the Department of Public Health. The Health Department’s first review happens within 20 business days, at which point they will issue comments about what needs to be addressed.

    After receiving these comments, you can submit for a re-review, which usually takes ten business days.

    If there are additional comments, you’ll typically have an appointment meeting to go over the comments.

    Once the health department approves your plans and stamps the sheets, you need to take the approval letter and the stamped plans back over to the LADBS reviewer. They will usually not stamp plans the health department has not successfully reviewed.

    Overall, this entire process can take anywhere between 30 to 40 days or more.

    When the Health Department issues their first comments after the Building and Structural Review, you will also receive clearances and clearance comments. Before a second building and structural review can be completed, you’ll need to take care of all clearances.

    What do these clearances entail? Some common clearances include:

    • Green Clearance is an appointment plan review. Appointments are typically scheduled 5-10 days after they have been requested.
    • Disabled Access Plan (DAS) Review is an appointment plan review. Appointments are typically scheduled 5 to 10 days after they have been requested.
    • Health clearance can take 30 to 40 days, as previously mentioned.
    • Other clearances such as sanitation, sewer, public works and fire may be required.

     

  6. Stamp Transfer: Once clearances are completed, all stamps and approvals must be transferred to the final set of documents. Stamp transfers are completed via an appointment, which must be requested. These appointments typically happen 5 business days from the day of request.
  7. Conduct a Final Building Review: Once all stamps are transferred to the final set of documents, you can request a final review. Requests for final review appointments are scheduled, and appointment timing is dependent on a reviewer’s schedule. They typically happen within 5 to 15 business days of their request.

Once a review is approved, your permit will be deemed Ready To Issue (RTI). RTIs process within 1 business day.

 

Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Permits

Concurrently, you’ll need to apply for and attain mechanical, electrical, and plumbing permits, which are submitted separately. In terms of timing, for each of these sections, expect:

  • 5 to 10 business days from the first submittal to get the first comments.
  • 5 to 10 business days to schedule a recheck appointment.

 

Want to Learn More About Restaurant Permitting in LA?

Visit our Complete Guide to Los Angeles Restaurant Building Permits for everything you need to know to get your restaurant reviewed and approved quickly.