Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: What happens if I start work without obtaining a permit first?

A:
Any person who violates a provision of this code or fails to comply with any of the requirements thereof or who erects, constructs, alters or repairs a building or structure in violation of the approved construction documents or directive of the building official, or of a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of this code, shall be subject to penalties as prescribed by law as follows: Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or joint venture violating any of the provisions of the California Building Standards Code or other code adopted in Article VIII of the Agoura Municipal Code shall be guilty of an infraction. Any person violating a stop work order issued pursuant to Section 114 of this chapter hall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person who continues to occupy or any person who enters a structure which has been posted "unsafe" by the building official pursuant to Section 115 of this chaptering shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Each day that person, firm, association, corporation or joint venture violates any of the provisions of the California Building Standards Code or other code adopted in Article VIII of the Agoura Municipal Code is a separate offense and shall be punishable thereof as provided in the Agoura Hills Municipal Code.

Q: How can I get copies of the plans for my building?

A: State law stipulates that plans become copyrighted documents when an architect or engineer has placed their professional seal upon them. As such, they may not be duplicated without the written authorization of the architect or engineer who prepared them. The law also requires the owner authorize the duplication of the plans. 

Q: When do I need a building permit?

A: Building permits is needed for all types of construction. Anyone who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or to erect, install, convert, or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system is required to obtain the required permit. Building Permit Application

In many cases, a permit is needed for repair or replacement of existing fixtures, such as replacing windows. A plumbing, electrical, or a mechanical permit maybe needed for any addition or changes to a building’s existing system; for example, moving or adding an electrical outlet, replacing a water heater or replacing a heating or air conditioning unit. For any exception to the above, please refer to section 105.2, chapter 1, of Agoura Hills Municipal Code

Q: How long does it take to get a permit?

A: Permit issuance periods vary. Some projects can be fully permitted over-the-counter, meaning a return trip won’t be needed. Some projects, however, require that plans be submitted for a more thorough plan review. The City of Agoura Hills provides a 10 (business) day turn around time on the first submittal and hopefully, shorter period for any resubmittals thereafter.

Q: Who calls for inspections?

A: It is the responsibility of the permit applicant (owner or the contractor) to call for inspections at specific times during construction. You may have your contractor make the call, but it is still your responsibility, as the property owner, to make sure the inspections are made and that you have obtained your final approval. Inspections are made during certain points in the project, depending on the work that’s being performed. For example, retaining walls require inspections of the footing (1st inspection), after block is laid and steel placed but before grouting (2nd inspection), and when all work is finished (3rd and final inspection).

Q: How long is a permit good for?

A: A building permit is valid for 180 days after it is issued. In the event of an unforeseen hardship, a written request must be made to the Building Official who may grant a 180-day extension. In most cases, a permit will not be expired unless the applicant has failed to call for an inspection and show progress. Once a permit is expired, you may be required to begin the permit process from the beginning and pay all of the applicable fees again.

Q: Can an owner build his/her own house, pool etc?

A: Yes, if it is for his/her own home and the owner is doing the work or the owner can act as general contractor, hiring licensed sub-contractors. For more information, contact the Building Division at 818-597-7334 or email ksanders@ci.agoura-hills.ca.us.

Q: Is a permit needed to replace a water heater?

A: Yes. All water heaters must be strapped to the adjacent wall, to protect against earthquake damage. Additionally, water heaters located in the garage also need to be elevated 18" above the garage floor and must terminate to the outside.

Q: Do I need a permit for sprinklers?

A: Yes, a plumbing permit for the pressure line and back-flow preventer is needed.

Q: Do I need a permit to replace my driveway?

A: No, not a building permit, however, if unless you are replacing or enlarging the street approach apron, in which case you need an encroachment permit from the Public Works Department.

Q: Does a garage door opener require a permit?

A: Yes, an electrical permit is required for the wiring of the opener.  If the electrical outlet is existing and it's a replacement, no building permit is required.  However, you should check with your HOA (if any) and the City's Planning Department.

Q: Who can take out permits for work on a residence?

A: The property owner or the licensed contractor can pull permits. An agent can pull permits if either the property owner or licensed contractor gives the agent a notarized letter authorizing him/her permission to pull permits on their behalf.

Q: Why do I need a permit?

A: To insure health and safety through adequate review of plans and inspections of structures used and/or occupied by you, your family and the general public. Additionally, during this process we will also make sure that all the minimum code standards and regulations have been followed.

Q: What is the procedure for obtaining a building permit?

A: You will need to fill out a permit application and submit two sets of drawings. All work for building permits must be shown on scaled plans (1/4” or 1/8” scale) on a minimum 18”x24” sheets which includes but not limited to: Site Plan, Floor Plan, Structural Plans, Energy Calculations, and Architectural Elevations, (exceptions can be made for very small projects such as walls or interior improvements). Building Permit Applications

Q: What are the construction hours?

A: Construction hours are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, no work on Sundays and Holidays. In the event you want to work outside these hours a request in writing to the Building Official needs to be submitted justifying the reason, the hours proposed and include a vicinity map identifying the location and distance to the closest residential area to the project site. This request must be submitted at least a week prior to the day of work and needs to be approved by the Building Official and the City Manager. In the event this process is not followed, the work will be stopped and you could be fined.

Q: How much does a building permit cost?

A: Building Permits are based on Valuation (which is what a licensed contractor would charge to do the work) and you could be asked to provide the contract or the agreement which shows this figure. If it’s an electrical, mechanical, plumbing permit then the permit cost would be per fixture. Permit Fees

Q: When is a soils report required?A: A soils report is required on all new construction. Exceptions could be found on Requirements for Foundation and Soil Investigation Report Form (i.e. for single family residential on a flat land with less than 1000 s.f. of new construction, you may follow the local requirements without submitting a soils report). Foundation and Soil Report Waiver Request form

Q: What is required for Kitchen and Bathroom Remodels?

A: A permit application will need to be filled out and two sets of floor plans must be submitted. Floor plans should contain an existing floor plan and a new floor plan (if floor plan is not changing, then just show existing floor plan). Show electrical locations, appliance locations, etc.

Q: When do we need a permit for walls?

A: A permit is required for any retaining wall that is 36” or more in height (measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall). A permit is required for any masonry garden wall that is 24” or more measured from adjacent grade. A permit is not required fora fence/wall up to 6' in height (measured from adjacent grade) and not of brick or masonry material.

Q: How do I request an inspection?

A: You can request an inspection by calling the Building and Safety Division’s Automated Inspection line at (866) 701-3365. Before you call, be sure to have the following information available:

1. The middle five digits of the Permit Number (The digits are located in the upper right-hand corner of your permit) referred to as "Pin Number" or "Permit Number".

2. The address of the project

3. The job card inspection reference numbers

Inspection requests received by 9:00 pm can be scheduled for the next day. If you need to coordinate a special inspection time with the Building Inspector, then give them a call between 7:30 am and 8:00 am the morning of the inspection date to arrange a two hour window if possible. The Building Inspectors will do their best to accommodate your needs, but keep in mind that they will be inspecting multiple projects on any given day and may not always be able to be in your area during the time you are requesting.

Q: When do I get my electrical and gas utilities turned on?

A: Generally, when a building project is completed, and all of the required Departments and agencies have granted a final approval for the project, the Building and Safety Division will release electrical and gas clearances to the utility providers so that they can work with the tenant or owner to schedule a turn on date.

Q: What building codes are currently in effect in the City of Agoura Hills?

A: State law requires that all cities and counties in California enforce the building codes as mandated by the California Building Standards Commission. The City of Agoura Hills has adopted by ordinance the following model codes:

  • 2016 California Building Code
  • 2016 California Mechanical Code
  • 2016 California Plumbing Code
  • 2016 California Electrical Code
  • 2016 California Energy Code
  • 2016 California Residential Code
  • 2016 California Green Building Standards Code
  • 2017 LA County Fire Code
  • 2015 International Property Maintenance code

Q: What are the wind, seismic and other design factors used in the City of Agoura Hills?

A: The following design factors are utilized in the City of Agoura Hills:

  • Wind – 110 mph
  • Fire – Very High Fire Severity Zone (VHFSZ)
  • Snow – None
  • Seismic – D
  • Climate Zone – 9
  • Soil Type – High Expansive Soil

Q: Are fire sprinklers required?

A: Section 903.2 of the City of Agoura Hills Municipal Code states: An approved automatic fire sprinkler shall be installed throughout all new buildings, and throughout a building where alterations and/or additions increase the existing floor area by more than 50 percent within any 12 month period and in additions to existing buildings equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system. Refer to AHMC for any exceptions.

Q: Who can draw up a set of building plans?

A: Plans for simple projects such as single family dwellings limited to a maximum of three stories can usually be drawn up by qualified individuals such as draftsmen. Assuming that these simple projects are constructed within the parameters of Section 2308 of the Residential Conventional Light Frame Construction Requirements, engineering calculations to support the design will not be required. Other projects may require plans prepared and signed by a licensed California architect or engineer. Plans for new commercial buildings, apartments or hotel/motel buildings and changes in the use of existing buildings which cause a change of Occupancy Group generally must be prepared, stamped and signed by an Architect or Engineer licensed to practice in the State of California. For projects such as routine Retaining Walls, Patio Covers and Second Story Decks, the Building and Safety Division has handouts that include drawings and specifications that can be followed. Those handouts, together with a plot plan showing your project, are accepted as your plans for the project.

Q: What is required for Plan Review submittal?

A: Use the following link to view our plan check requirements. Building and Safety Policies

Q: What will I need to provide during the inspection?

A: On the day the inspection is scheduled the following must be on site:

  • City Stamped approved set of plans, permit and job card
  • A ladder and special tools needed for access to the project and the work area.
  • An adult over the age of 18 to allow entrance to your  home when you are away or a letter posted allowing the inspector in the back yard if you are away and want us to access the back yard.
  • Proper containment of dogs or other animals, accommodation can be requested to help orchestrate your concerns on this action, call us before inspection.
  • The work you have scheduled needs to be completed, ask your contractor before, if not ready please call and cancel the day of inspection to avoid re- inspection fees. Partial inspections are not performed without previous authorization.

All required structural observation forms need to be filled out by the engineer of record as needed per plan (as an example, before a frame inspection on a new home). For a final inspection, other criteria from different agencies and departments such as Fire Department, Health Department, Planning Department, Public Works, and Industrial Waste may be required.

  • Any top out of plumbing, electrifying of completed circuits, and roofing tear off to be completed and ready prior to the inspection taking place.

 

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