Development Services

Building Regulations

General Building Requirements

Permits are required before starting work. Permits are available to owners of single-family dwellings and two family dwellings provided the owner installs the work, or a member of the immediate family, and the owner resides or intends to reside in such dwelling.

Permits become null and void if work authorized is not commenced within 180 days of the issuance or if such work is suspended or abandoned at any time after the work is commenced for a period of 180 days.

No work shall be covered or concealed without first having been inspected and approved.

Construction Permits are obtained through the Department of Long Beach Development Services which authorize the construction or remodeling of a building in the City of Long Beach.

There are six common types of permits:

  • Building Permit is required to construct or modify a building or structure.
  • Electrical Permit is required to install or modify an electrical system.
  • Plumbing Permit is required to install or modify a plumbing system.
  • Mechanical Permit is required to install or modify heating, ventilation, refrigeration, air conditioning and other related systems.
  • Combination Permit is for work performed on a single-family dwelling or duplex. A Combination Building Permit covers all of the building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work necessary to complete the job.
  • Fence Permit is required for any fence over four feet high or retaining wall over four feet high.

The Department of Long Beach Development Services is the agency charged with the administration and enforcement of municipal zoning and building regulations and requirements prescribed by California State law Title 24.

The City of Long Beach uses the following model codes as the municipal building laws:

All California cities and counties and hundreds of other jurisdictions nationwide follow these model codes.

The Department also enforces certain California State requirements for minimum housing, energy conservation, workers compensation certificates, and access for the physically disabled.

Most major projects will require a permit of some kind. This is necessary to ensure that all buildings meet minimum standards that protect its occupants and neighbors, not only in everyday living, but also in case of emergencies and natural disasters.

However, some minor alterations are allowed without obtaining permits.

The most common exceptions are:

  • Construction of retaining walls or planter boxes less than two feet high.
  • Erection of fences less than four feet high.
  • Construction of unroofed slabs and platforms less than thirty inches high, open walkways, and driveways on grade.
  • Replacement of up to 500 square feet of roofing on an existing building in any twelve-month period.
  • Installation of ceramic tile on floors and countertops, and on walls not more than forty-eight inches high. Replacement of any existing broken or damaged ceramic tiles.
  • Plaster patching not in excess of ten square yards of interior and exterior plaster.
  • Construction of pools not over 24 inches in depth, without electrical or plumbing fixtures.
  • Construction of cases, counters and partitions less than five feet high.
  • Repairs of plumbing leaks and replacement of faucets.
  • Repair or replacement of electrical wall plug receptacles.
  • A detached equipment shed, utility building, children’s playhouse or tree house provided that the building is accessory to a dwelling unit and it does not exceed sixty-four (64) square feet in area, nor eight feet in height from floor to roof.

Permits shall be issued to licensed contractors.

However, a homeowner can obtain a permit to do the construction, alteration or repair of a one or two-family dwelling and accessory buildings or facilities thereto if:

  • The owner resides or intends to reside in the dwelling, showing proof of residence
  • The construction is performed by the owner, and The owner signs a statement that no person will be employed in a manner as to become subject to the workers' compensation laws of the State of California.
  • When a permit is taken out, 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 Long Beach are required to have a Long Beach business license. If a contractor has employees, proof of Workers' Compensation Insurance must be shown at the time of permit issuance. Contractors working alone may waive this requirement, but must show a pocket copy of their State Contractor's License.