1. How long is a plan check application valid?
Plan check applications expire 12 months after the plan check fees are paid, pursuant to Section 18.12.140.F of the Long Beach Municipal Code. However, within 30 days of its expiration, an application to extend a permit application may be filed with the Department using a Code Modification Request pursuant to Section 18.04.100 of the Long Beach Municipal Code. The applicant must provide sufficient evidence that circumstances beyond their control prevented action to secure the permit within the allotted time. Financial hardship, contracting issues with design professionals or contractors, or seasonal weather conditions are typically not adequate reasons for the granting of an extension. The request may be filed at the Permit Center on the 4th floor of City Hall. A filing fee of $241.55 shall accompany each request submitted to the Department. For a Modification for Plan Check Extension Form, click here.
2. What is the current status of my plan check review?
Information can be obtained from the Plan Check Inquiry page or contact our customer service representative at the Development Services Center.
3. What types of projects can be checked over the counter ?
For over-the-counter plan check service, please see Information Bulletin BU-002. Please visit the Building Information Bulletins page for more details.
4. Can a homeowner prepare a set of construction plans, obtain a building permit, and construct his/her own house or addition without first consulting a(n) architect, engineer or contractor?
Yes, if the house is one (1) story, and will be built from plans based on the Department’s standard “Type V” sheet. For more information, please refer to Information Bulletin BU-010 Type V Sheet.
5. Can a mechanical or electrical engineer design and prepare plans and calculations for my 2-story building addition?
No, only a registered civil/structural engineer or architect can perform such work.
6. What requires signature of a California Professional Engineer or California Registered Architect?
All plans submitted for permit are required to be signed by either a California Professional Engineer or California registered Architect, except as permitted pursuant to the California Business & Professions Code Section 5537, 5538, 6737, and 6745. For more information on when a licensed professional is required, please refer to Information Bulletin BU-013 Policy on When a Registered Design Professional is Required, or visit the California Business and Professions Code website.
7. What is a "Type V" sheet ?
A Type V sheet is a summary of the “Conventional Light Frame Construction” regulations found in chapter 23 of the 2007 California building Codes. It provides general information regarding architectural and structual elements, including basic construction details and sections, for simple one (1) story residential wood-framed buildings or structures. For more information, please refer to Information Bulletin BU-010 Type V Sheet.
8. What building codes has the city adopted?
The Department of Development Services adopted the 2007 series of California Codes of Regulations beginning of January 1st, 2008. These codes are the 2007 Edition of the California Building Code (based on the 2006 Edition of the International Building Code) as amended by Title 18 of Long Beach Municipal Code, 2007 Edition of the California Mechanical Code (based on the 2006 Edition of the Uniform Mechanical Code of the IAPMO), 2007 Edition of the California Electrical Code (based on 2005 National Electrical Code of the NFPA), and 2007 Edition of the California Plumbing Code (based on the 2000 Edition of the Uniform Plumbing Code by IAPMO).
9. How are changes to approved plans during construction handled by the Department?
Generally speaking, any changes to Department approved plans shall be approved by the plan check engineer who reviewed and issued the permit. Sometimes, the changes can be handled over the counter on the same day they are brought in; other times, the changes may need to be resubmitted for further review with an additional plan check fee. In either case, it is always a good idea to first call the plan check engineer who approved the plans and ask for his/her assistance.
10. Are there plan rechecking fees?
There are two types of plan rechecking fees. One is prior to approval and the other is after approval.
a) Fees for rechecking construction documents prior to approval:
No additional fee shall be charged for verification of the corrections required by the department or other departments. However, when plans have been checked and are subsequently so revised by the applicant for reasons other than plan check correction as to necessitate rechecking, the building official shall require the applicant to pay a rechecking fee as set forth in the schedule of fees and charges established by city council resolution which would be required for the cost of that portion of the construction or work which has been revised. However, no additional permit fee will be required unless the revision increases the total cost of the entire project. In that event, the building official shall require the applicant to pay an additional permit fee based on the additional cost.
b) Fees for rechecking construction documents after approval:
When plans are resubmitted for review of changes made to previously approved plans, the plan review fee in the case of a building or sign permit shall be based on a rate as set forth in the schedule of fees and charges established by city council resolution and the plan review fee for a grading permit shall be as set forth in the schedule of fees and charges established by city council resolution for the number of cubic yards replaced, removed or omitted that were not previously approved.
11. What requires wet stamp?
Projects that are required to be prepared by a license architect or engineer requires wet stamp. Title sheet of the calculations, specifications, reports and every sheet of the plans prepared by a licensed architect or engineer shall bear the seal or stamp (with the expiration date of the license) and signature of the architect or engineer at each (including initial) submittal. Wet signature and stamp are required on the title sheet of the plan, and on the first page or cover sheet of the calculations, specifications and reports. The remaining sheets of the plans may bear the copy of the seal or stamp and signature of the architect or engineer as long as the stamp and signature are on the originals of the plans.
12. What is the minimum classification required for roofs?
The minimum roof coverings installed on buildings shall comply with Table 1505.1 of the California Building Code (CBC) based on the type of construction of the building. For example, a building of Type V-B construction (which is typical of most wood framed construction) would require at minimum a class C roof covering.
13. Can Air Admittance Valves be used in Long Beach?
No. The CPC has not approved the use of mechanical venting.
14. Can the temperature and pressure relief valve be removed from the water heater and plugged?
No. The manufacturer's warranty will become void if removed.
15. Do electric water heaters have to be strapped the same as gas water heaters in seismic zones 3 & 4?
Yes. There are no exceptions in the CPC that exempt the requirement for strapping electric water heaters.
16. If I find clay sewer piping under my new addition, does it have to be removed and replaced with waste piping approved for use within the building?
Yes, there is an exception to this code requirement. If the clay sewer piping is stamped Extra strength vitrified clay pipe, it can remain in place.
17. Can the trap for a washing machine standpipe be installed under the floor?
No. The two extremes in this equation ( trap 6” above floor + 30” rise, or trap 18” above floor + 18” rise) will both rise to the standard counter top height of 36”. A rise which terminates lower than 36” may become a system overflow point should a stoppage occur on that branch.
18. What are the requirements for air conditioning system condensate drain lines?
Condensate from air conditioning equipment and cooling coils shall be collected and discharged to an approved plumbing fixture or disposal area. Condensate shall not drain over a public way. Specific requirements are as follows:
- Condensate must be piped to the sanitary system with an indirect connection into a properly trapped and vented plumbing receptor or directly into its tailpiece; or
- Condensate may be piped to an approved drywell. When condensate is terminated at a drywell, it shall be an indirect connection to a properly constructed drywell. Handouts specifying drywell construction requirements are available at the Development Services Center. Drywells for draining large tonnage systems and for commercial and industrial projects must be engineered and included as part of the approved plans for the project.
Additional requirements for condensate piping to consider are as follows:
- Condensate drain lines shall slope not less then 1/8 inch per ft. or 1 percent slope toward the termination and shall be of an approved corrosion resistant material.
- Condensate drain lines shall be sized in accordance with the California Mechanical Code Section 310.3 or as recommended by the equipment manufacturer.
- When a cooling coil is located in an attic or furred space where damage may result from condensate overflow, an additional water tight pan of corrosion resistant metal shall be installed beneath the cooling coil to catch overflow condensate due to a clogged primary condensate drain, or one pan with a standing overflow and separate secondary drain may be provided in lieu of the secondary pan. The secondary drain shall be piped to a discharge location where it can be readily observed outdoors such as over a door or window.
19. What are the code requirements for dryer moisture exhaust ducts?
Dryer moisture exhaust ducts shall be of metal and shall have smooth interior surfaces. Screws or other fasteners shall not be used that will penetrate the duct wall and obstruct the airflow. Dryer moisture exhaust ducts shall only serve clothes dryers. Unless otherwise permitted or required by the dryer manufacturer’s installation instructions and approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction, domestic clothes dryer moisture exhaust ducts shall not exceed a total combined horizontal and vertical length of 14 feet, including two 90 degree elbows. Two feet shall be deducted for each 90-degree elbow in excess of two.
20. Are occupancies required to be heated?
Interior spaces intended for human occupancy shall be provided with active or passive space heating systems capable of maintaining a minimum indoor temperature of 68 degrees F. at a point 3 feet above the floor on the design heating day .
21. What are the clearance requirements for heating and air conditioning equipment?
Not less then 30 inches in depth, width and height of working space and platform shall be provided to service all equipment on the service/access side of the equipment. Clearances to combustibles shall be in accordance with the equipment manufacturer’s listing and installation instructions. Additional clearances may be required by the equipment manufacturer for service, airflow etc. Clearance for gas vents shall be in accordance with the listed vent manufacturer’s installation instructions.
22. What are the requirements for the termination of a bath, kitchen or dryer duct (environmental exhaust duct)?
Environmental exhaust ducts shall terminate a minimum of 3 feet from the property line and 3 feet from openings to the building.