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Home Improvement Approval Process

Updated January 16, 2013

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Why the City Has Codes | Contact City Hall for These Projects | Get City Permits / Approval | Hiring a Contractor | For More Information

This page explains the process you'll need to follow to complete your home improvement project in the City of Cerritos. For more information, call the Building & Safety Division at (562) 916-1209 or check out the 10-minute video called "Right from the Start" from Cerritos Public Library.

Why the City Has Codes

City approval and a building permit are required for many important reasons:

  • To help ensure that home improvements are attractive and fit well within their neighborhoods;
  • To maintain property values and our quality of life;
  • To help homeowners get their projects done safely and correctly the first time, saving time and money, and most importantly;
  • To protect the safety of your family and your neighbors.

The City uses the 2008 Los Angeles County building code which includes code requirements for electrical, mechanical and plumbing work.

Contact City Hall for These Projects:

  • Air conditioners
  • Air filters
  • Dishwashers
  • Electrical changes
  • Landscaping
  • New block walls
  • New fences
  • New wood siding
  • New windows/trim
  • Painting
  • Patio covers
  • Paving
  • Plumbing changes
  • Roofing
  • Room additions
  • Spas
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Stucco work
  • Swimming pools
  • Water heaters

If you are considering any other projects or improvements, contact the Community Development Department at (562) 916-1201 to find out if there are any City requirements that apply to your project.

The Cerritos Building & Safety Division is open to issue permits from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Building inspectors are available in the office to answer your questions from 8 to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday. The Plan Check Engineer is available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, by appointment only. Call (562) 916-1209 for an appointment.

How to Get City Permits / Approval:

  1. Contact a planner in the Community Development Department to discuss your project and obtain a development application.
  2. Submit your completed development aplication and any required supplemental information to the Community Development Department.
  3. City Planning staff will review your application for compliance with the City's development code and suggest corrections/revisions as needed.
  4. A building permit is required before starting most projects. To obtain a permit, take your approved plans to the Building & Safety Department. Building and Safety staff will advise you of the necessary plan check and permit requirements for your project.
  5. Upon issuance of the necessary permits and commencement of project construction, contact Building & Safety regularly at (562) 916-1209 to schedule inspections by the City Building Inspector to confirm that your project meets all applicable building codes.
  6. When your project is done, request a final inspection from the Building & Safety Division.
  7. If you've met all City and County standards, you'll receive a permanent building permit to keep on file as proof that you've done the job right. Enjoy your newly improved home!

Hiring a Contractor

For many projects, such as building a room addition or replacing a roof, you may want a professional to do the job. A free booklet called "What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor," offers hundreds of important tips for residents planning to hire a professional, and is available on the Contractors' State License Board website. Here are a few tips:

  • Shop around. Ask for references and check that the contractor's license and insurance are in good standing.
  • It is advised that the homeowner have the contractor obtain the permit for the project.
  • Know the rules. Make sure the contractor is following City policies and procedures. Make sure he or she has a building permit before starting any work.
  • Check before you pay. Before you pay the bill, confirm that the City has done a final inspection and that the contractor has paid all labor and material suppliers.

For More Information

For more information on completing a home improvement project in Cerritos, or on hiring a contractor, you may call the following numbers:

If you have questions regarding fees or approvals from the Fire Department, Health Department, School District, Sanitation District, Water Quality Board, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Air Quality Management District, or electrical/mechanical/plumbing plans which are checked off site, see the agency referral section of this website.

For questions regarding the building permit process and fees, and the plan check process and inspections, send an E-mail to the Building & Safety Division.

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