Solutions for Unpermitted Construction Work in Los Angeles

construction permit plan

As an architectural company, we often come in contact with clients inquiring about unpermitted construction, who wish to know how it will affect their future plans. Selling or modifying your existing property can become very troublesome if permitting violations aren’t addressed. 

There’s a lot of backtracking involved if permitting isn’t done on time, and you may even need to redo the work in some areas. Not to mention that the market value of unpermitted structures is considerably lower than their realistic value, making the sale process unnecessarily long and difficult. 

Luckily, in most cases, any defects of the structure can be fixed or replaced to bring the building to full compliance with regulations. We will discuss in more detail how unpermitted work can be remediated, but first, let’s analyze how unpermitted work comes to be, and what it can take away from the value of your home. 


Los Angeles Building Permit Requirements

Building permits are issued by the Los Angeles Department for Building and Safety – LADBS. A permit is necessary for any type of construction on a private property, including alteration, modification, addition, and other. This also involves electrical work, plumbing, HVAC, renovations, and expansions. Before any type of construction work commences, it’s important to submit construction plans to the LADBS, and receive a reply of approval to proceed. 

Permits are necessary to ensure safe construction that protects not only the owner, but anyone visiting or living in the nearby area. They also enhance the quality of overall life by optimizing the usage of resources, protecting the homeowner’s investment in legal ways, but also protecting the environment from unnecessary pollution. More benefits of obtaining a permit will be detailed below.

It’s no secret that many people don’t like the permitting process, and some actively try to avoid it for as long as possible. There are many reasons that Los Angeles citizens avoid acquiring a proper permit, including:

  • Avoiding the fees associated with the permitting process
  • Constructing a project that would otherwise not be allowed due to regulations
  • Speeding up their project’s timeline
  • Hiring unprofessional contractors who discourage them in acquiring a permit, or are outright unable to do so for the client

However, the city of Los Angeles works hard to enforce their construction regulations, and most offenders are identified. Even if no inspection has commenced on an unpermitted building yet, at some point it will, and the resulting process will be more costly than obtaining the permit on time. 


Benefits of Obtaining a Permit

Permits are not meant to be a mandatory expense just for the sake of regulation. In fact, the permitting process was put in place to also protect the homeowner, contractors, tenants, neighbours, and even the environment. Most notably, in the case of new home construction, a permit will protect the investor or homeowner from receiving subpar construction work from unprofessional contractors. 

These are just some of the benefits that a building permit offers you:

  • Legal foundation for your project, protecting you from low quality contractors
  • With a permit, you may request a city inspection to review the contractor work and ensure it is up to city standards
  • Permits ensure safety on the lot by holding the plans to high safety standards, and protect residents and contractors alike
  • As a public record, building permit documentation adds value to your buildings and lot
  • Sale and renting is considerably easier due to having a strong legal foundation, you may even market the building in special ways
  • Permits allow for easier payment schedules, as the project itself is segmented by design, separated by inspection points
  • Improving the building and lot with additions will be substantially easier once the main building is properly permitted
  • Permits will prevent costly corrections in the future, such as tearing down of walls and exposing plumbing, wiring, HVAC and other systems for late inspections
  • Buildings with proper permits are much safer for the environment, protecting the nature of your lot and surrounding area, which also brings a lot of property value

There are many other benefits on a case-by-case basis, and there is no imaginable scenario where the costs associated with acquiring a permit outweigh the value and benefits the homeowners stand to gain. 


Legal Implications of Unpermitted Construction Work

Unpermitted work is commonly not the fault of the homeowner. Many people purchase or inherit a building that was constructed or modified without proper approval. In these situations, they worry about possible repercussions by city inspections, or even fines and citations, just from asking questions and working on a solution. There are some implications involved, but they are usually straightforward to manage, and may require modification to the buildings in question. In cases of exceptional violation, portions of the building or the whole building may need to be deconstructed. 

Unpermitted work is commonly unsafe, posing risk not only to the residents, but to anyone in the immediate area. In exceptional accidents, this may lead to big expenses if the homeowner needs to legally compensate an injured tenant or visitor. 

signing a legal document

Certain fines may be issued for heavy violations. This depends on the extent of the unpermitted work, as well as on the type. Unpermitted electrical, plumbing, and heating installations are very dangerous, and may result in big fines. There are additional costs involved in opening walls and floors for inspection, as well as repair costs of the original issues. 

It’s also crucial to note that unpermitted work usually cannot be covered by insurance policies for homeowners. As mentioned, this means that injuries caused by improper safety of the structure won’t be covered by insurance. In addition to that, any structural damage to the building won’t be covered either. In some cases, when only a portion of the structure is permitted, only that portion will be covered by an insurance policy. 

To attain the benefits discussed, and avoid any unnecessary financial loss, it’s best to start seeking necessary documentation as soon as possible. Even if it means pausing the existing schedule, a permit will save you much more money in the future than it will cost today. A professional company can help you get all the necessary permit documentation and successfully insure your building, and you should consider contacting Yakov Build. 


Get Professional Help with Obtaining a Permit

Proper permitting will protect your investment and allow you great flexibility for future planning. We know that many homeowners encounter a variety of problems in solving their permitting, and we want to offer them our professional experience. It’s possible to reduce the financial and time investment associated with permitting, as well as the costs of solving any building code violations in the least disruptive ways. 

professional consultation

Yakov Build offers to manage the whole project of analysis and permit submission for their clients, and we apply the best industry practices in resolving any building code violations. 

We value your time, money, and safety. If you need help with obtaining necessary permits, don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to discuss ways to help. 

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