LBDS
333 West Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach CA 90802
Phone: (562) 570-LBDS (5237)
Fax: (562) 570-6753
Permit Related Questions
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1. I am a homeowner. Can I apply for a construction permit?

A homeowner can obtain a permit and do the construction, alteration or repair on his/her house and accessory buildings or facilities if the owner resides or will reside in the dwelling.

For more information, see: Construction Permits.

2. Do I need a permit to build a fence around my property?

A permit is not required for any types of fence under 4'-0" in height above grade pursuant to Section 18.12.010.F.2.b of the Long Beach Municipal Code. Please note that even though a permit may not be required, all fences must comply with the requirements of the Long Beach zoning regulation.


3. What types of projects do not require a building permit?

Here is a list of work that is exempted from a building permit:

  • a) Retaining walls or planter boxes not more than four (4) feet in height, measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or sloping earth, or impounding flammable liquids. This exemption shall not apply to retaining walls of any height built on slopes steeper than one (1) unit vertical in five (5) units horizontal (20% slope).

  • b) Fences four (4) feet or less in height above grade.

  • c) Unroofed platforms, walks, driveways and decks not more than thirty (30) inches above grade and not over any basement or story below and not part of a required accessible route.

  • d) Application of hot or cold paint or other roof coating on a roof of a building.

  • e) Application of roofing not in excess of five hundred (500) square feet on an existing building within any twelve (12) month period.

  • f) Installation of ceramic tile on floor or countertops and on walls less than forty-eight inches (48”) in height.

  • g) Replacement of broken or damaged ceramic tile in an existing installation.

  • h) Plaster patching not in excess of ten (10) square yards of interior or exterior plaster.

  • i) Swimming, bathing and wading pools not over two (2) feet in depth and not having a surface area exceeding two hundred and fifty (250) square feet, where there is no electrical or plumbing installation.

  • j) Veneer less than four (4) feet in height.

  • k) Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of Group R-3 and Group U occupancies when projecting not more than fifty-four (54) inches.

  • l) A detached equipment shed, utility building, or children’s playhouse or tree house provided that the building is accessory to a dwelling unit; it does not exceed sixty-four (64) square feet in area nor eight (8) feet in height from floor to roof; it contains no plumbing, electrical, or mechanical installations regulated by this code; and is not in violation of Title 21 zoning regulations.

  • m) Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery that are not supported by a building.

  • n) Gantry cranes, drill presses, and other similar manufactured machinery or equipment.

  • o) Water tanks supported on a foundation at grade if the capacity does not exceed five thousand (5,000) gallons (18,927 L) and the ratio of the height to diameter or width does not exceed two (2) to one (1).

  • p) Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work and are not required to comply with accessibility regulations.

  • q) Nonfixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over five (5) feet nine (9) inches in height.

  • r) Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade if the capacity does not exceed five thousand (5,000) gallons; it contains no plumbing, electrical, or mechanical installations regulated by this Title; and is not in violation of Title 21 zoning regulations.

  • s) Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one-and two-family dwellings.

  • t) Exhibits, booths, partitions and display counters for temporary use not exceeding thirty (30) days in conjunction with an exhibit or show and not exceeding twelve (12) feet in height above the floor.

  • u) Waterproof pointing of joints in masonry or veneer, also cleaning with detergents which are not injurious to clothing or skin of persons and are not removed by liquid washing, provided work is done from safely enclosed scaffolding which will collect any dust, debris or dropped tools and materials in use.

  • v) Portable amusement devices and structures, including merry-go-rounds, ferris wheels, rotating conveyances, slides, similar devices, and portable accessory structures whose use is necessary for the operation of such amusement devices and structures; any portable accessory structure included in the provisions of this Chapter shall be limited to a cover or roof over each device, but shall not include any storage building or detached structure which is not an integral part of the device; and provided however, that any electrical installations shall require subwork permits where applicable and be regulated by this Title.

  • w) Underground crypts or burial vaults within a property which is dedicated or used for cemetery purposes, provided that such work does not affect the lateral support or increase the stresses in or pressure upon any adjacent or contiguous property not owned by the cemetery authority.

  • x) Any portable metal hangar less than two thousand (2,000) square feet in size, located on a City-owned airport, used for the parking of aircraft only, and bearing evidence of approval by the Department of Motor Vehicles of the State of California for movement on any highway. Such Structure shall, as an integral part of its basic construction, be equipped with a hitch or coupling device for towing. It shall accommodate, without further major structural change, wheel and axle assemblies which will provide such structure with a safe means of portability. No water or sanitary facilities shall be permitted in such structure and it shall be equipped with permanent ventilation as required for Group S-2 occupancy; and is not violation of title 21 zoning regulations.

  • y) Signs that are exempt under the provision of Section 21.44.070.

  • z) Signs that are exempt under the provision of Section H101.2 of Appendix H of the California Building Code.

  • aa) Outdoor tents or cloth structures for temporary use not exceeding one hundred and eighty (180) days, provided such tents are accessory to an indoor or outdoor assembly use on the site; and is not in violation of Title 9 public peace, morals and welfare, Title 21 zoning regulations and Chapter 18.48 fire code.

  • bb) Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service system.

  • cc) Towers or poles supporting public utility communication lines, antennas, or power transmission lines.

4. How much does a building permit cost, and how are the fees determined?

Building permit fees are calculated based on the valuation of the project. Please refer to the Section 18.12.130 of the Long Beach Municipal Code, see the Fee Schedules page or visit our Permit Center for assistance.


5. Is a plumbing permit required to replace my residential garbage disposal?

No, a plumbing permit is not required to replace a residential garbage disposal.

6. Is a plumbing permit required to replace my residential water heater?

Yes, you must first obtain a plumbing permit before replacing your residential water heater.  Permits may be obtained at the Permit Center at City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Blvd, 4th Floor.  For more information call (562) 570-LBDS.

7. Do I need a permit to change to a low consumption toilet in my house?

Yes. A permit must be obtained by either the owner or a licensed plumbing contractor.

8. Do I need a permit if I want to replace my residential cooking range, broiler unit or clothes dryer?

No, a permit is not required to replace a residential range, broiler unit or clothes dryer.

9. When is a plumbing permit required for natural gas piping?

A plumbing permit is required for the installation of any gas piping except piping less than 6 feet in length between an existing gas outlet and a gas appliance in the same room.

10. Is a permit required for installing any portable ventilating, comfort-cooling or evaporative cooler equipment?

No. A permit is not required for any portable ventilating, comfort-cooling or evaporative cooler equipment.

11. How long is a permit valid?

A permit is valid for a period of two years from the date issued, provided that any permit shall expire on the one hundred and eightieth (180) day from the date of issuance if the work permitted has not been commenced; or shall expire whenever the Building Official determines the work authorized by any permit has been suspended, discontinued or abandoned for a continuous period of one hundred and eighty (180) days.

12. When is a grading permit required?

A grading permit shall be obtained from the building official for any grading work except as specified in the following.

List of grading work exceptions:

  • a) When approved by the building official, grading in an isolated, self-contained area, provided there is no danger to the public, and that such grading will not adversely affect adjoining properties.

  • b) An excavation below finished grade for basements and footings of a building, retaining wall or other structure authorized by a valid building permit. This shall not exempt any fill made with the material from such excavation or exempt any excavation having an unsupported height greater than 5 feet after the completion of such structure.

  • c) Cemetery graves.

  • d) Refuse disposal sites controlled by other regulations.

  • e) Excavation for wells or tunnels or utilities, which do not provide vertical or lateral support for buildings, or adversely impact the safety or stability of private or public properties.

  • f) Mining, quarrying, excavating, processing or stockpiling rock, sand, gravel, aggregate or clay controlled b other regulations, provided such operations do not affect the lateral support of, or significantly increase stresses in, soil on adjoining properties.

  • g) Exploratory excavations performed under the direction of a registered design professional.

  • h) An excavation which (a) is less than two (2) feet in depth, or (b) which does not create a cut slope greater than five (5) feet in height and steeper that 1 unit vertical in 2 units horizontal (50% slope). This exception shall not apply to cut which exceeds 50 cubic yards or which changes the existing drainage pattern.

  • i) A fill less than one (1) foot in depth and placed on natural terrain with a slope flatter than 1 unit vertical in 10 units horizontal (10% slope). This exception shall not apply when the fill exceeds fifty (50) cubic yards or when the fill changes the existing drainage pattern.

  • j) Excavation for caissons or piles under buildings or structures, swimming pools or underground structures that are authorized by valid building permits.

13. Do I need a permit to backfill my swimming pool?

Yes, a grading permit is required. For more information, please refer to Information Bulleting BU-008 Backfill of Swimming Pool or Spa.

14. How do I obtain copies of building permits for my property?

Information can be obtained from the Building Permit Records page of our website, or at the Permit Center on the 4th floor in City Hall.


15. What type of permit, if any, is required to place a dumpster in the public right of way (i.e., public sidewalk or public street)?


A Public Works permit is required to place a dumpster in the public rights- of- way. Applications for this permit can be obtained on the 10th floor of City Hall at the Public Works counter. Public Works has a list of approved vendors that can provide insurance to home owners and businesses. If a home owner places the container on his or her private property, then no Public Works permit is required.


16. Do I need a permit to install an equipment or utility shed on my residential property?

Pursuant to Section 18.12.010.F(2)(l) of the Long Beach Municipal Code, a permit is not required for the following: "A detached equipment shed, utility building, or children’s playhouse or tree house provided that the building is accessory to a dwelling unit; it does not exceed sixty-four (64) square feet in area nor eight (8) feet in height from floor to roof; it contains no plumbing, electrical, or mechanical installations regulated by this code; and is not in violation of Title 21 zoning regulations." To ensure that the proposed location of the shed is in compliance with Title 21, please contact or visit the Department and speak to Planning staff for assistance. If the shed exceeds the size, height or contains plumbing, electrical or mechanical installation, then a building permit would be required.


17. Who is the Online Permitting request service intended for, and how can I apply for this service?
Online Permitting is a service provided for California Licensed Contractors and Real Estate Agents who conduct frequent business with Long Beach Development Services, to eliminate the need to visit the Development Services Center for every project. To use this service, an application for Online Permitting must be submitted in person. (Online registration is not available at this time.) For more information, click here.

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