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.
After you obtain a permit for your restaurant renovations and begin construction work, requesting and completing site inspections is the next step in moving towards ultimately opening your restaurant to diners.
Before your restaurant can open for business, inspections need to be passed and final permits rewarded.
Construction work is generally inspected and approved in succession throughout the building process, which means no work may continue beyond the point indicated in each successive inspection without first obtaining the inspector’s approval.
Why does this matter? If another part of the project will conceal the work that needs to be inspected, you are required to get it inspected before the concealment work is started. Otherwise, you’ll have an unexpected demolition detour.
What Happens During a Building Inspection?
Los Angeles’ Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) conducts plan check reviews and inspections via two different parts of the department, so you won’t be working with the same person who was with you for your plan check.
During the inspection, an inspector is ensuring that codes and standards are fully adhered to. Until he or she signs off on the construction, your restaurant construction project is not approved.
Some common items that require inspection include (but are limited to):
- Foundation excavations
- Concrete work
- Wood framing
- Mechanical HVAC
- Shear wall nailing
- Roof nailing
- Sign placement, installation, and design
Next, before your final building inspection, you’ll need to have health department approval in hand before your final building inspection can even begin.
Your Location’s Health Department Inspection
Your building will also undergo an inspection from the health department. With the health department, the person who reviewed your plans will also be the one inspecting your work, so they’ll have some familiarity with your project.
The health inspector will want to review your equipment list and make sure everything is operating properly. They’ll also evaluate surfaces like sinks and countertops, making sure the material can be cleaned adequately.
Restaurant owners going through their first inspections with health departments should be prepared for health inspectors to issue multiple corrections, asking for adjustments and corrections like changing the swing of a door or sealing the material finish on your countertops. It’s essential to make these changes the first time they ask for them; otherwise, they can get salty.
What to prepare for an inspection
In most cases, your contractor will often be the one responsible for requesting an inspection since they are familiar with the building process, but you’ll need to be prepared for the inspection as well.
It’s good to have relevant information and documentation at the ready. Any missing items can delay the inspection and thus hold up the project. Make sure you have:
- A copy of the permit.
- A copy of approved plans (if plan review was required).
- The Building Card issued at the time of permit issuance (this applies to Building Permits only).
- Any equipment needed to do the inspection, such as a ladder.
- Plans on site.
- Equipment lists and how things work and operate.
Also, all the work to be inspected should be visible. Anything concealing the inspected part of the project will need to be removed. Depending on what’s involved, it may require you to reschedule an inspection off-hours at an additional cost, which can also lead to lengthy delays.
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.