Except for very minor projects, such as painting, fences not over 6’-0” high and such, building permits are required if a structure is to be enlarged, altered, repaired, improved, etc.
So typically this would involve the design and engineering of plans and specifications by a licensed Architect or licensed Engineer. Upon completion of these documents, they are submitted in person, as an example, to the Los Angeles Department Of Building and Safety for review. Other building departments, such as the City Of Santa Monica, have implemented an electronic submittal process.
Many various departments, including Planning, Zoning, Engineering, etc., are a part of the review and approval requirements.  Therefore, it is most important to have a complete, accurate and professional set of plans drawn up, so that the interrelationships of the many, many different aspects of architectural design and engineering can be transmitted in a clear and precise manner, to the respective Plan Checkers.
For a modest sized project, such as a one story addition of less than 500 square feet, or a significant interior remodel, I prefer to ‘walk the plans through’ these departments and meet with the various Plan Check Engineers ‘over the counter’, one on one.
In this manner, a professional interplay of question and answer, between the licensed Architect of record and the reviewer, can resolve issues in an expeditious manner. We have been quite successful ‘pulling permits’ for a project of this size in one day. This is quite unusual, but again accomplished recently with our plans for a West Los Angeles design and construction job of this size being Approved with issuance of a building permit, in less than one days time. We feel this is a testimonial to our successful Design-Build system that has been developed and refined, over the past (30) years of practice.
For a larger project than in the above example, or one that is in ‘particular locations of concern’ (i.e. Coastal areas) adjunct to the above Agencies would be additional reviews by the Coastal Commission, City Design Review Boards, etc. As was the case with two projects we did in Pacific Palisades, our professional, trustworthy and friendly approach to the various entities we request Approvals from, has benefited our Client’s significantly.
Some of these benefits include: savings from additional filing fees; savings from additional Architect and/or Engineering work; savings in interest paid daily on a building loan; savings in material price increases and savings in temporary housing costs.
To learn more, don’t forget about our new Online Design and Construction Consulting-let us know about your Project questions and within (24) hours you’ll receive professional guidance!
Best Regards Always, Barry R. Shaw AIA, GC

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