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What are the first steps to get started on a design?


  • Set up a meeting to discuss the client’s budget, needs, wants, and must-haves to realize a dream design.

  • Provide a FREE estimate/quote.

(If the previous step is accepted continue)


  • Write a proposal/contract regarding the job's scope of work.

(If the previous step is accepted continue)


  • Visit the property for field notes, and measurements for our "Measured Drawings".

  • Start the schematic design phase.

  • Meet or remotely discuss the schematic design to be finalized.

  • Submit preliminary design to the planning dept. for acceptance of the proposed design.

(Once the planning dept. grants permission to continue to the next steps)


  • Identify the other consultants required for our team and assist with their appointments.

  • Dispatch and discuss the final schematic design with consultants for their preparation of required reports.

  • Begin the technical drafting of the construction documents.

  • Coordinate consultants required reports, construction plans, and application forms to submit to the agency(ies).


  • Submit proposed or construction plans to City or County agencies for approval.

  • Wait for City or County officials' approvals or corrections- This time frame varies from the different municipalities, once plans are received we will correct and re-submit corrections provided by the agencies in a timely manner.

(If the building and safety has approved your project, continue to the next steps)


  • You have been approved- Obtain your building permit(s) and you are on your way to starting your building project.



  • Bidding and Negotiation- Disperse the approved plans for builders or tradesmen of your choice to bid on your project.

What can I expect from our consultation meeting?

​A free initial consultation is a conversation over the phone for us to get to know each other and discuss what you're intending to propose. A design consultation gives you a designer's expertise for a limited time at a reasonable deductible price i.e. ...a deposit. Think of a design consultation as a house call: we visit your home, discuss, sketch possibilities, and answer basic questions about costs and construction alternatives for various home improvements. During this meeting, it's best to communicate your ideas clearly and ask lots of questions. Find out the designer's approach, fee schedule, deliverables, and what they think is important about your project. Assess whether the designer listens to your needs and confirms that he or she understands them.

How long does the City or County take to review plans for building permits?

This, of course, varies on the department and how busy they are at that current moment you may be submitting plans. The size and type of project also play a big role in the time frame of plan check completion. Typically a small addition/remodeling job (under 500 sq. ft.) in the City of L.A. can be submitted and reviewed over the counter on the same day but in the L.A. County departments it can take 4-12 weeks, it all depends on what particular County office submittal will take place.


  • Submittals to the City of L.A.'s regional planning dept. is not always required for smaller interior remodeling projects. However, you will always have to submit to the building and safety dept....i.e. if existing walls are demolished, and or plumbing fixtures and electrical are being relocated.

  • Same-day permits can be issued in the City of L.A. and some other cities and counties for small additions under 500 sq. ft. and or interior remodeling per standard building code.

What is a building permit?

A building permit is an authorization from a city or county to construct or build a project. Building permits are required for not only new construction projects but also renovation and remodeling projects.

What requires a building permit in California?


New Attached or Detached Buildings and Structures (Residential and Non-Residential) with a floor area greater than 120 square feet* Tenant Improvements. Roof and Ground Mount Solar Installation.

What happens if you build a home without a permit in California?

Homeowners Could Be Fined
If the city finds out that you haven't received the appropriate permit, they will likely assess a fine, which could be the original cost of the permit along with a fine for not obtaining the permit in the first place.

How do I obtain a building permit?

An accurate and detailed set of plans (blueprints), specifications, and supporting documents is required to obtain a building permit from your local planning department for most construction projects.


Obtaining A Building Permit

  1. Submit a permit application to the building official/building department. This process may include specific building plans and studies. ...

  2. Prepare the applicable plan drawings. ...

  3. Prepare for the plan approval process. ...

  4. Obtain the permit. ...

  5. Schedule the building inspections. ...

  6. Final Approval.


Who can pull a building permit in California?

Property Owners, State of California Licensed Contractors, or Agents (building permit expediter) for property owners or contractors may pull a permit with the following paperwork. A tenant of a building cannot pull a permit unless he/she is an agent for either the Property Owner or Contractor.

How long does it take to get a building permit in California?

Four to Six Weeks

The plans will be checked for compliance with the California Code of Regulations Title 24, Zoning Ordinance, Health Code, etc. Normal processing takes four to six weeks. Any remaining fees, including the building permit fee, are payable before issuance of the building permit, as well as school fees, if applicable.

How much is a house permit in California?

These fees usually run anywhere from $1.05 a square foot to $1.50 a square foot. Our example home costs about $1.05 per square foot for a plan check, which equates to about $2,331. Small homes such as a 1,200sf home (future ADU) have higher plan check costs per square foot, so be prepared for that. Mar 2, 2022

How do I legalize unpermitted work?

To Approve Your Unpermitted Work Post-Construction, There Are Two Main Options:

Demolish the work done and restore the building to its previous condition. Legalize the unpermitted work by obtaining a retroactive building permit.

What is a building permit expediter?

A Building Permit Expediter is a professional that has the knowledge and understanding of the City's and County's planning

department's building permit process to obtain construction building permits.

Building Permit Expediter possesses knowledge that's needed to speed up the building permit process and advises clients

throughout to keep projects on schedule.

Building Permit Expediter has an understanding of the plan check submittal and corrections process to obtain an approved set of plans for construction building permits.

Building Permit Expediter advises on topics such as the plan check process, agency fees, covenants, entitlements, and

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

What does a building permit expediter do?

A Building Permit Expediter's duties would consist of submitting plans to the City via an online portal and or in person. Meet and communicate with city officials concerning the plan-check corrections process. They gather other requirements such as signed documents, notarized covenant agreements, record maps, pull building records, and coordinate fees that may apply from the agencies that play a role in your project.

Why is the conceptual/preliminary design important?

Conceptual Design is an early phase of the design process, in which the broad outlines of the function and form of something are articulated. It includes the design of interactions, experiences, processes, and strategies. From a client's perspective, it helps with the visual of the space layout and final design. It helps with the feasibility study of a project. It allows for a preliminary design review by the planning dept, to ensure the requirements of any new building codes that may require the existing structure to comply with, thus allowing a client to create a reasonable budget, design strategy, and approx. timelines.

What are the benefits of creating a conceptual design?

The first benefit to conceptual design is always the clarity it provides of what a product can do and what its intended use is. This is key when creating a product and in some cases without this, the process can encounter major corrections later down the line.

What is the purpose of as-built drawings?

The major purpose of an as-built drawing is to record any modification made during the building process that deviates from the original design. The drawings that are first completed for a planned construction project are not the ones that are needed once the project is finished.

Accessory dwelling unit questions?

For Accessory Dwelling Unit- FAQ click here

For Accessory Dwelling Unit- Ordinance click here

Do I need a permit to remodel my bathroom in California?

Building Permits are required for any kitchen or bathroom remodels and must be obtained before any construction, alteration, or addition work begins. If your remodel project is NOT for a house or duplex, separate Mechanical, Electrical, or Plumbing (MEP) permits may also be required.

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