Los Angeles County Building Codes

Image of Los Angeles County Building Codes

Many people have the dream of building a perfect home that is literally designed from the ground up for them and their family. This is an admirable dream, however, before attempting to achieve this dream, it is important that the individual is aware of the building codes that govern the safety of the house being built. These building codes are realistic and not particularly restrictive. Rather, they are there to ensure the safety of everyone within that dwelling.

Los Angeles County Building Codes make sure that all residential structures have a guaranteed safety threshold that will give them a certain resistance to the forces of seismic activity and extreme weather conditions. The contractors who work at Pacific Green Homes are fully versed in the Building Codes of Los Angeles and will build your home to fit those exacting standards. That is because your safety and security in your new home are just as important to us as your comfort and satisfaction.

General Building Codes

The Los Angeles building codes are the same for both commercial and residential buildings, and their purpose is to preserve the health, safety, and welfare of the building’s inhabitants. This is done by maintaining the following standards for any occupied structure:

  • Structural Strength – The walls and roof of the building should be stable and secure so that there is never any danger of an imminent collapse.
  • Means of Egress Facilities – There should be multiple points of entry and exit to the building and they should each be easily accessible.
  • Sanitation – The building should maintain a level of cleanliness that renders it safe for human habitation. There should never be any worry of excessive pest or vermin infestation, or infection from disease carrying vectors.
  • Adequate Light – The building should have enough light so that its inhabitants have a good level of visibility so that reasonable safety standards can be maintained. The light can be natural or artificial in nature as long as it provides enough illumination.
  • Adequate Ventilation – A level of air quality free of excess pollutants and contaminants should be maintained in order to safeguard the respiratory health of everyone in the building. This means regular care and maintenance of the HVAC system, if one is present.
  • Fire Hazard Safety – The materials used in the construction should not exacerbate the spread of flames. The materials may not have to be completely fireproof, but they should not increase the speed or rate of a conflagration.

Aside from increasing the safety of anyone present in the building, the Los Angeles Building Codes are also there to preserve the safety of any firefighters and first responders who need to enter the building for emergency purposes. These codes also apply to any extensions, additions, or repairs to the original building.

Unsafe Buildings

A building is deemed unsafe when it is in violation of the codes listed above. A building is also deemed unsafe it is in a location that is considered hazardous because of landslide, settlement, or other environmental causes. No one is allowed to occupy, own, or maintain an unsafe building; furthermore, unsafe buildings are declared to be public nuisances.

If a building is deemed to be unsafe, then an official can order that it be repaired, secured, or demolished. The cost of these actions are a personal obligation to the property owner, who must pay an amount equal to 40% of the cost of performing any of those actions.

Los Angeles Green Building Codes

The Los Angeles Green Building Code (LAGBC) was created in November 2008 and applies to any new buildings constructed after that date. It is based on the 2013 California Green Building Standards Code, and both programs are designed to conserve energy and water, and also to reduce the carbon footprint and the waste produced by buildings.

The following types of building projects are subject to the LAGBC requirements:

  • All new residential and commercial buildings
  • All residential and commercial building additions
  • Any reconstruction of a building that is more than 50% of its market value
  • Changes to a residential building that increase its conditioned volume—i.e., the part of the building in which people live
  • An alteration to a residential or commercial building that value over $200,000

The following list of ordinances all fall under the LAGBC:

  1. Solar Power – This helps to reduce the creation of greenhouse gases from coal and fossil fueled power plants
  2. Water Conservation – New building codes and rebates encourage owners to install water efficient fixtures and appliances, as well as practice xeriscaping in their yards.
  3. Existing Buildings Energy and Water Efficiency Program – This helps to increase the efficiency and energy use of buildings built before the creation of the LAGBC.
  4. Electric Vehicle Charging Station – This is an optional building amenity, and permits for one or more can be obtained from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety’s (LADBS) online permitting system. A higher number of charging stations helps to incentivize the spread of EV adoption.
  5. Cool Roof – A roof that can reflect sunlight will absorb less heat, keep the house cooler, and save on energy bills since the HVAC system will not be used as often.

The Los Angeles Building Codes Are There To Help You

Whether it is the building codes governing the security and safety of the building, or the green building codes that promote sustainability, all of the Los Angeles Building Codes are for the benefit of the homeowner. There is no need to worry about any of them, especially if you let Pacific Green Homes build your home for you.

We will make certain that your new home is in compliance with all of the building codes, so that you never have to worry about the safety and security of your house and anyone within its walls.

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