How to Accelerate Construction Timelines in the City of Los Angeles

Los Angeles’ Early Start Permit Program Explained

In the dynamic landscape of Los Angeles construction, time is often as critical a resource as the materials that frame the city’s skyline. Recognizing the need to streamline project timelines without compromising on safety and compliance, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) offers a solution: Early Start Permits. 

This article delves into the nuances of Early Start Permits, providing a roadmap for those eager to get crews started.

Understanding Early Start Permits

The Early Start Permit program is designed to facilitate the initiation of certain construction activities before the final approval of plans. These permits cover a range of preparatory and foundational work, including site preparation, foundation laying, and the demolition of non-structural elements, enabling projects to maintain momentum in their early stages.

The Application Process

Obtaining an Early Start Permit requires a detailed understanding of the specific criteria and documentation LADBS mandates. Applicants must demonstrate their project’s adherence to zoning and building codes, provide comprehensive construction details and structural calculations, and ensure compliance with geotechnical requirements.

A critical aspect of the application is the Assumption of Risk agreement, underscoring the applicant’s understanding of and responsibility for the work commenced under an Early Start Permit.

Early Start Permits for Foundation Work

For projects not subject to the Hillside Ordinances (LAMC 12.21A17) or Baseline Hillside Ordinance (LAMC12.21C10), the Foundation Only Permit allows for extensive ground-level and below-grade work. This includes site cleaning, excavation, and the construction of foundational structures. 

For approval, the scope of work must be clearly outlined in the plans, and any structural plans encompassing additional work not associated with the foundation-only permit should be excluded from the plan set to be approved.

Early Start Permits for Non-Structural Demolition Work

An Interior Non-Structural Demolition Permit is another facet of the Early Start Program, permitting the removal of non-load-bearing elements ahead of major renovations or tenant improvements. This may include partitions, ceilings, plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems. 

It’s important to note that the project must demonstrate that the existing and proposed use of the structure will be the same. If different, the permit may not give you the right to use the the space as proposed. 

Early Start Permits for Electrical Work

For electrical work, projects can request a Conduit Only Permit. When granted, it can allow contractors to initiate the early installation of empty conduits, junction boxes, and pull boxes—without conductors—before the electrical plans receive approval. 

A Conduit Only Permit includes just one inspection. Should any further inspections be needed, the applicant must obtain a supplemental permit for each additional inspection request.

Early Start Permits for Plumbing and Mechanical Work

A Plumbing and/or Mechanical Permit can be issued at the Express Permit Counter once plans for the plumbing and/or mechanical system are submitted and administrative approval is secured from the Plumbing/Mechanical Inspection Section.

Please note, this permit allows for one initial inspection and a follow-up re-inspection if a correction notice is issued. Any further inspections necessitate an additional permit.

Applying for Early Start Permits

Obtaining an early start permit requires an application and satisfying a series of requirements. This LADBS document details each of the requirements for these permits. 

Pay close attention to each ask and satisfy it completely. If your request is denied, it will take time to reissue a request and get approval, which in the end may eliminate the need for an Early Start Permit. For personalized assistance and expert advice on Early Start Permits and more, reach out to Permit Place, where your project’s timely commencement is our priority.

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