When Are Permits & Plans Required?


Major projects, fixture swap outs, general repair, demolition, and remodels require that building permits be pulled by a licensed contractor or a qualified owner-builder. This is necessary to ensure that all structures meet minimum standards and regulation requirements to protect the occupants and surrounding neighbors.


The following activities will require plans to be approved by both the Planning Department and the Building & Safety Department for permits to be issued
  • Adding, altering, relocating, or removing interior and exterior walls
  • Additions to existing structures
  • Remodels
  • Removing structures
  • New construction
  • Conversions of structures
  • Legalizing any unpermitted additions or demolition
  • Significant remodeling of a dwelling unit
  • Tenant improvements
  • Occupancy changes
  • Alterations, installation, relocations, or remodel of open and enclosed patios and carports, pergolas, awnings
  • Outstanding changes to a building's facade or architectural style.

To determine if your proposed work will require plans, or to learn about the planning review process, please contact the Planning Department at (310) 973-3206. Contact Building & Safety at (310) 973-3236 to learn more about the building plan check and permitting processes.


The following applications are designated as Building Permits. These permits are processed by the Building & Safety Department:

  • Building Permit (used for re-roofs, window, and door swap out, demolition, additions, or alterations),
  • Electrical Permit,
  • Grading Permit,
  • Mechanical Permit,
  • Miscellaneous Permit (used for new address assignments and certificate of occupancy),
  • Plumbing Permit,
  • Sewer Permit.

The following applications are designated as Planning Permits. These permits are processed by the Planning Department:

  • Fence Permit (for installing, modifying, or removing a fence),
  • Flatwork Permit (for yard landscaping, concrete and hardscape replacement and modifications),
  • Shed Permit (for building, installing, relocating, or removing a shed that is 120 sq. ft. or less),
  • Sign Permit,
  • Temporary Banner/Sign Permit


A building permit can be issued to:

  1. A property owner, whose worksite is his/her principal residence and has occupied said property twelve months prior to the completion of the work. For more information, visit www.cslb.ca.gov.

  2. A licensed contractor. For more information, visit www.cslb.ca.gov.

When a permit is pulled, the signature and identity of the applicant must be verified. A California driver's license, State of California Identification Card, or other positive identification will meet this requirement.

Contractors working in the City of Lawndale are required to have a Lawndale business license.

If a contractor has employees, a Certificate of Workers' Compensation Insurance must be on file with the Planning and Building Department. Contractors working alone may waive this requirement but must show a pocket copy of their State Contractors License.


When a contractor is pulling a permit on behalf of a property owner, they must satisfy the following requirements before permits can be issued:

  • Provide a copy of their driver's license and contractor's license,
  • Fill out and turn in a Contractor Declaration Form for each job they do in the City,
  • Provide proof that they have an active business license with the City of Lawndale. If a contractor needs to apply for or renew a business license, they can go to the Citizen Serve portal,
  • If an agent is pulling a permit on behalf of the contractor, the agent must provide a valid Authorization Letter and a copy of their valid driver's license.

Look Up Contractor Information

Residents can visit the Contractor State License Board website to search for a contractor's license or view a database of registered contractors in the state.


If a property owner is planning to pull building permits for their property, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Subject address must be their primary residence,
  • Property owner must reside on the property for a minimum of twelve months before they can apply for building permits,
  • Provide a copy of a valid drivers license,
  • Provide a copy of a recent utility bill (trash, water, gas, electricity),
  • Fill out and turn in an Owner-Builder Declaration Form.
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