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Frequently Asked Questions & Helpful Tips

- Permit Tips for Small Businesses -

 

Q:  Expanding or relocating your business?

 A: Is your business growing or moving to a new location in the City of Calabasas?

Congratulations! We’re happy that your company is helping to boost our economy and provide jobs for the citizens of Calabasas.

But, as you expand, there are a few questions you may want to ask the City or other agencies. For example:

  • If I expand my business, are there any new planning permit or zoning requirements?

  • Will I have to add more parking?

  • Do I need a building permit for my remodel?

  • Are there any low-interest loans or other assistance available?

  • Will the fire code require more exits, sprinklers or safety equipment?

  • What about disabled access?

  • How much will the Fees be?

The City of Calabasas wants your business to succeed -- it benefits all of us.

So, before you expand, talk to a contractor, engineer, architect or other design professional, along with City staff members...they’re there to help you find out what’s needed.

And, after you’ve learned about the requirements, you may need to hire an architect, engineer, contractor, consultant or other design professional to help you in drawing up plans or other necessary documents.

These requirements help your business be a safer, better neighbor, and preserve the beauty and character of Calabasas.

Q: What are permits and why do I need one?
A:  Permits are the way the City of Calabasas regulates construction. This is designed to ensure that all construction in the City is safe. The safety of the occupants in buildings is the primary reason for having construction codes. The City of Calabasas has adopted several codes, among them the 2010 California Building, Residential, Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing codes In addition, there are federal, state and local laws that govern construction, such as those covering energy conservation.

The City has handouts to help you through this process.

Once plans are approved, you’re required to build the project according to those plans. If any changes are made to the plans, they must be made with the City’s approval.

The second half of the process is the inspection of the work. More on that later.

Q: When do I need a permit?
A: A permit is needed for all new construction. 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 requires a permit.
Q: Do I need a building permit to start a new business in an existing building or to move an
     existing business from one building to another existing building
?
A: This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many variables between different kinds of businesses and different construction types of buildings. To assist business owners, building owners and property managers in determining if a building permit will be required when a new tenant wishes to occupy a building or tenant space, the Building & Safety Division staff, in cooperation with local developers and building owners, has developed a form titled "When do New Tenants need a Permit" which describes when a permit may be required.

Generally, if the prior use of the building was the same as the proposed future use and no construction is planned to accommodate the new tenant, a building permit may not be needed. Certain businesses, such as restaurants and automotive uses, must be formally reviewed and will require a tenant

Q: When are plans required for a new tenant to occupy an existing building or tenant space?
A: Generally, plans are required whenever it is determined that a building permit is required for a new tenant to occupy a building or tenant space. If no work is taking place to accommodate the new tenant, but it has been determined that a permit is required, a Site Plan and a Floor Plan may be all that are necessary to show the location and number of parking spaces and the intended uses of each room or space within the building.

When additions or alterations to the building are proposed or the intended use of the building or tenant space presents special Fire or Life/Safety concerns, additional plans which clearly show the extent of the work and its compliance with the applicable laws, codes and ordinances may also be required (see Plan Submittal Checklist).

Q:  What other agencies might I need to contact prior to opening a new business?
A: Your business may need permits from the California State Board of Equalization to operate in California.  You may contact them directly at: www.boe.ca.gov or 800-400-7115.  Our local California State Board of Equalization district office is located at 15350 Sherman Way, Suite 250, Van Nuys, CA 91406-4203.
Q: When don’t I need a permit?
A: A construction permit is not needed for items such as painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, small storage sheds of 120 SF of less (some exceptions apply), portable heating or cooling appliances, the clearing of stoppages in pipes, valves or fixtures, retaining walls less than 3 feet tall; and in several other cases. However, reviews may be required from other agencies; be sure to check before building.

Remember, just because your project doesn’t need a construction permit doesn’t mean it may not need some other kind of City review. We suggest you call us at (818) 224-1600 any time you expand your business.

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 left for additional review. Traditionally, tenant improvement projects require 15-20 working days for the review.
Q: How long is a permit good for?
A: Every permit issued shall become invalid unless the work on the site authorized by such permit is commenced within 180 days after issuance or if the work authorized on the site by such permit is suspended or abandoned for a period of 180 days after the time the work is commenced. The Building Official is authorized to grant, in writing, one or more extensions of time, for periods not more than 180 days each. The extension shall be requested in writing and justifiable cause demonstrated.
Q: What agencies or departments will need to review my plans?
A: Other government agencies may need to review and approve your project. For example, grease interceptors require County Industrial Waste approval as well as City approval. After your plans have been submitted, the City will route a set to each of the various City agencies that are required to review them. This is why we require that you submit multiple sets of plans. To learn more about the plan review process go to Plan Review - Frequently Asked Questions.

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