Frequently Asked Questions

Home  >  Our City  >  City Departments  >  Community Development  >
  • Frequently Asked Questions
The City of Covina seal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an express permit?

Express permits include re-roof, minor mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work, and like for like window and door change outs.

  • If a mechanical or electrical unit is located outside, you must show a 5-foot set back from the unit to the property line on your site plan.
  • all projects require a site plan, regardless of scope of work.  
Do you issue Alarm Permits?

Alarm Permits are not processed by the Building and Safety Division. Alarm permits are processed through the Police Department Website

What happens after I submit?

Once a completed application is received and reviewed, a permit technician will follow up with you with your application number & invoice or let you know if any other information is needed. While most of the permitting steps can be done remotely, a visit will still be required for applicant verification and to pick up your job card.  In most instances, the ID check and job card pick up takes less than 5 minutes. While most of the permitting process can be done remotely, applicants are welcome to come in to complete  the permitting process over the counter at any point, including submitting in person or by mail.  

Do I need an appointment?
Appointments are not mandatory but are highly recommended so we can prioritize your visit. Please call us at 626-384-5460 to set up an appointment or notify the permit technician assisting you by email.
What if my project is not an express permit?

If your project requires Planning or Engineering approval, it is likely not an express permit. Please review the “Plan Check Process”page for information regarding larger-scale projects which typically require a Planning Approval Clearance before the Buiding Division can take plans in for review. in these cases, submittals without a  “planning approval clearance” or “planning approval stamp” will be rejected.

Some examples of projects that need Planning approval include, but are not limited to:
  • Any work that results in a roof pitch change
  • landscaping and exterior changes 
  • A roofing job that changes the color or material of the roof.
  • An addition of a patio or porch
  • Changing window and/or door locations or sizes (even if like-for-like)
  • All sheds, regardless of size
  • Commercial solar submittals
  • New Pools and Spas
  • A Tenant Improvement associated with a change of use (e.g. retail to restaurant, office to restaurant, etc.)
  • Parking lot re-striping or modifications
  • Adding square footage to a building or home.
  • All walls and fences 
I received my Planning Approval Clearance, what is next?

A complete submittal package must be dropped off at the Building & Safety counter. A drop-off will be rejected if it is incomplete. Building staff may accept your submission, review it for completeness and notify you at a later time if it is incomplete. You can find the typical submittal requirements on our handouts page.

Do you offer expedited Services?

We do not offer expedited plan check services. 

Where can I verify that my Contractor has a valid license?

Click here for the Contractor State License Board home page, where you can verify if a contractor has an active license and what type of licenses they possess. Our Permit technicians also verify licenses before issuing any permits. 

How many sets of plans do I need to submit for plan check?

The number of sets required depends on the scope of work applied. Below are some examples of the required sets to submit. This list is not exhaustive. Please consult with your assigned planner and building staff to work out a plan check submittal timeline and for information regarding what items are required to submit if the project is more complex (such as a new development), and always refer to our handouts page for project-specific submittal requirements. 

Project Type Number Of Required Sets
Solar (Commercial and Residential)
3 sets of plans, 2 sets of calcs (or two letters). All Commercial PV Projects must have Planning approval and Fire department review and approval. size: 11×17. If in conjunction with new development, consult with staff.
New Detached ADU
4 sets of plans (24×36), 2 sets of calcs (8.5×11), 2 sets of energy (8.5×11), 1 address request form and 1 (8.5×11) site plan.
JADU (Conversion of the existing footprint of dwelling unit)
3 sets of plans (24×36) which must include T-24. T-24 on 8.5 x 11 (2 copies) also required
Interior T.I (with no exterior modifications and no change of use)
3 sets of plans, two sets of calcs, two sets of energy (T24) (Fire submittal separately & reviewed concurrently) on 24×36
Restaurant Interior Remodel
3 sets of plans, two sets of calcs, two sets of energy (T24) (Health and Fire submitted separately and reviewed concurrently) on 24×36
New Pool or Pool Remodel
3 sets of plans on 24×36.
Sign Permit
3 sets of plans on 11X17. Must have specs , T-24 must be included if an illuminated sign.
Patio (New)
3 sets of plans, must include specs/calcs. 11×17
Residential Addition (new room(s), expansion of living space, etc)
4 sets of plans on 24×36. T-24 and Calcs must be included in the sets. T24 and calls must also be printed on 8.5×11 (2 copies).

What is the timeframe of plan check?

The first submittal for plan check can take 4-6 weeks to complete. To speed up the process, it is important to review the handouts on the handout page to ensure your submittal is as complete as possible to avoid minor corrections on a plan review cycle. Solar submittals typically take the least time, from one business day to 6 business days. Commercial Solar projects may take longer, since they require fire department approval before we can issue permits. City Hall is CLOSED Friday Through Sunday and Holidays and plan checks are not conducted during these times. 

How long are plan checks good for? Can I submit an extension?

Plan checks are good for 180 days, If permits are not pulled prior to that time, additional fees will be required to re-activate the plan check. Permits are good for 365 days after they are issued.Extensions must be applied in writing before permit expiration and can result in a maximum of one 180-day extension. Extensions are subject to approval from the Building Official based on hardship 

I received my Permit, when will it expire?

Permits will expire if work is not commenced 180 days from the permit issuance date or if the project goes 180 days without passing inspection. To re-active expired permits renewal fees will be required. When submitting plans to our plan review consultant, the average response time for room additions and other types of minor construction projects is 10 working days. 

Can you approve my project electronically?

At the moment, we do not offer electronic plan checks and permit issuance. However, we recommend that the entire submittal package is submitted by email firstso our permit technicians can notify you if any issues are seen. Staff will reject counter submittals if they are incomplete, which can delay the process by at least one business day. 

My permit technician asked me to obtain a Sanitation Clearance for my project. What does this mean?

Some projects may trigger an approval or clearance from the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts before permits can be issued. An example would be if a new dwelling unit is proposed, such as an Accessory Dwelling Unit. Minor projects in Covina such as a bathroom remodel or or adding a bathroom to an existing home will not trigger this requirement. If you received a notice to obtain a clearance, please complete this form and send it to connectionfee@lacsd.org. Once you receive an “approved” clearance form from LACSD, you will need to provide the form to your permit technician. 

Some projects need Fire Approval before permits can be issued?

EPIC-LA will take all new development – subdivision and/or new development (commercial, industrial, office, residential, etc.) and can include ADUs. See the attachment below. Tenant Improvement & Commercial Solar – Plan checks for T.I’s, renovations, modifications, and change of use, are submitted to a local fire inspector’s office. Allow a permit technician to assist you with contact information after your items are submitted for review. See the attachment “Energy Systems Requiring Fire Department Review” below.  

How do I know if my permit needs Engineering approval first?

Some submittals will be accepted for the building department permitting process, but cannot be issued unless an encroachment permit is also issued at or before the building permit is issued. If your project involves work outside of the property and on to the public right of way, or, if the project site has no sidewalk but the scope of work is close to the front property line, you will need to check in with engineering staff. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

– breaking the sidewalk or working in the front of the property, where there is no sidewalk

– sewer lateral connection​

Should I pay school fee's?

Projects that involve a newly built structure, or the addition of square feet to a structure, will likely need to check in with their school district before the Building Division can issue any permits. Whether or not fees are applied, your project may be required to check in with the school district before obtaining permits.  See the document “School Districts in Covina ” to determine the school district servicing your area. 

Construction Hours

Per CMC 9.40.110 Construction or repair work or use of Construction type equipment or device is unlawful between the hours of 8:00 p.m of any one day and 7:00 a.m of the next day, at any time on any Sunday or at any time on any public holiday in such a manner that is reasonable a person of normal sensitivity residing in the area is caused discomfort or annoyance.

For projects requiring a planning approval clearance before obtaining a building permit: Refer to your “Conditions of Approval” as noted on your planning approval clearance for location-specific construction hours.