building in Malibu basic explanations

What is the Building Plan Check process?

After plans have been approved by the Planning Division, they must be reviewed by the Environmental and Building Safety Division to assure compliance with adopted Building Codes. During this process, structural and architectural plans will be reviewed to determine whether structures are being built in compliance with the Building Code and related codes.

When can a project be submitted to Building Plan Check?

A project can be submitted to Building Plan Check only after the project has been approved and stamped by the Planning Division. Once you obtain that approval, you may submit your “working drawings” (i.e. structural and architectural plans) to your planner for review. Your planner will stamp either one or two sets of plans, depending on the type of project – please refer to the appropriate checklist for your project.

How do I start the Plan Check process?

As the planning process nears completion, you may contact a Permit Services Tech for a checklist to determine how many sets of plans you will be required to submit. Generally, the following sets are required:

New single family residence – 3 sets of plans, 1 of which must be stamped by planning

All other projects – 4 sets of plans, 2 of which must be stamped by planning

Once your working/construction drawings are ready, contact your planner to get either one or two sets stamped by your planner. Schedule an appointment to submit your plans to the Permit Services Division. Initial submittals are taken in during the afternoon only and by appointment only. For an appointment, call 310-456-2489

It is important that you make your appointment far enough in advance to assure that you will have your planning approval stamps by the time of your submittal. Your plans cannot be taken in for plan check unless they have been stamped by planning prior to the submittal appointment. If you are not sure what documents are required at time of submittal to Building Plan Check, you may discuss your project with a Permit Services Tech during morning counter hours (M-F 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

What happens at time of submittal?

Your plans will be reviewed to verify that they are complete and that the appropriate number of sets has a Planning Division approval stamp. The Permit Services Tech will review your documentation to assure that all required reports and documents are submitted. Your Building Plan Check fee will be calculated and you will be required to pay the plan check fee at time of submittal. Please note that the Planning Division approval requires that the Conditions of Approval be copied onto a full sized plan sheet and incorporated into your set of working drawings. Please attach that sheet directly after the cover sheet for the plans.

What happens after the submittal?

Your plans will be sent to our contract plan checker, Willdan. Your plans will be reviewed by a plan check engineer and will either be approved or returned with requested corrections. When your plans are returned to the Permit Services Division by Willdan, the project applicant will be called and told that the plans are ready to be picked up. The applicant will be told at that time whether the plans require corrections or were approved.

Do all projects need to be plan checked by Willdan?

Some small projects can be plan checked at the counter, while you wait. You may contact Craig George, Deputy Building Official, at the public counter Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and he can make a determination whether your project is small enough to plan check in-house. In the near future, a staff plan checker will be hired and more projects will be plan checked in house.Watch for announcements.

If the plans are returned with corrections, what is the next step?

You or your architect and/or engineer must address all noted corrections. Once the plans have been revised, you may bring your plans to the Permit Services Division for “re-submittal.” No appointment is needed to re-submit.

When you bring your revised plans for re-submittal, it is important that you also bring all prior sets (“check sets”) of plans and all documentation that accompanied the plans. Each time plans are revised and re-submitted, all prior sets must also be resubmitted. In order to re-submit, you’ll need to bring two sets of corrected plans.

After plans are approved by the plan checker, what is the next step?

The plan checker will stamp two sets of plans and return the approved plans to the Permit Services staff. You will be notified to pick up your approved plans so you can obtain all other required approvals. You may need to get both sets stamped, for example, by Public Works, Geology, and the Fire Department. After all required approvals have been “wet” stamped onto both sets of plans, contact your planner to obtain a final Planning approval stamp on both sets.

Both sets of plans have all required stamped approvals, is there anything else?

Additional fees or documentation may be required. Contact the Permit Services Tech or refer to your checklist.

How long can I take to complete my plan check?

By code, a Building Plan Check expires one year after the date of submittal. If you cannot complete the process within that time, you may contact the Permit Services Tech, prior to the date of expiration, to request an extension. The Building Code allows for one extension only, for a period of 180 days only. Upon expiration of the extended date, you will have to pay a full re-submittal fee. In addition, if any of the codes have changed since your initial submittal, your plans may have to be re-reviewed.

Will additional plan check fees ever be requested?

If your plan check requires more than three or four reviews and corrections by the plan checker, additional fees may be requested.

Will I need to get a Grading Bond?

Grading bonds are required for projects if a project involves more than 1000 cubic yards of grading. The bond can be in the form of a purchased bond, a cashier’s check made payable to the City of Malibu, or a Certificate of Deposit naming the City of Malibu. Additional grading documents may be required.

Can you tell me what my plan check fees will be prior to the time I submit my plans?

Plan check fees vary and are based on factors such as square footage. Calculating your plan check fee will often require an in-depth analysis of your plans. We may be able to provide you with an approximation, based on information you provide to us (obtain a form from a Permit Services Tech) but we cannot provide definite fees until the time of submittal. Ask the Permit Services Tech for more information at the time you make your submittal appointment.

What Building Code is used by the City of Malibu?

California Building Code, Los Angeles County Building Code, with City of Malibu Amendments. A copy of Title 26 of the Los Angeles County Building Code and the California Building Code, 2010 Edition, have been deposited in the office of the city clerk of the city of Malibu and shall be at all times maintained by the city clerk for use and examination by the public. (Ord. 354 § 2, 2011; Ord. 318 § 1, 2007: Ord. 242U § 1, 2002: Ord. 192 § 1, 1999: Ord. 1444 § 1, 1995; prior code § 8100)

Can I get a copy of the L.A. County Building Code online?

For proprietary reasons, the 2002 L.A. County Building Code is not available online. The Malibu Amendments are, however, available online on the City website The Building Code is available for review in Malibu City Hall on request.

I don’t understand the requested corrections. Can you help me understand what the plan check engineer is asking for?

The Permit Services Techs cannot interpret or explain corrections. You may contact your plan checker directly for more information or consult with your architect or engineer.

May I return my plans directly to Willdan rather than bringing them to the Permit Services Division for re-submittal?

You may do that but we recommend that you re-submit your plans through the Permit Services Division. The Permit Services Tech will document re-submittal of your plans and prepare a transmittal memorandum to Willdan to document the re-submittal. If you decide to return your plans directly to Willdan, please contact the Permit Services Tech to let her/him know.

May I pick my plans up directly from Willdan?

Yes, you may, but we recommend that you pick up your plans from the Permit Services Division. The Permit Services Tech will document return of your plans and make a copy of the correction sheet before calling you to tell you that your plans are available for pick up. If you decide to pick up your plans directly from Willdan, please contact the Permit Services Tech to let her/him know.

How long will it take for my plans to be approved?

That will depend on the complexity of your project and the degree to which your original working drawings conform to the Building Code. The initial turn around time for a set of plans for a new single family residence is approximately 30 days. Less complex projects may take less time.

What is a S.U.S.M.P. and how will I know if I need one?

This is a Standard Urban Storm Water Mitigation Plan. Please see the handout that explains when a SUSMP is required. Public Works will notify you, as part of their review, that a SUSMP is required. Please note that an additional fee will be required for review of the SUSMP. Contact Public Works if you have questions. Please note that if a S.U.S.M.P. is required, a separate fee will also be required.

What is a S.W.P.P.P. and how will I know if I need one?

This is a Local Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan; please refer to the separate handout on this topic or contact Public Works with questions.

What is a S.W.M.P. and how will I know if I need one?

This is a Storm Water Management Plan; please refer to the separate handout on this topic or contact Public Works with questions.

What is a W.Q.M.P. and how will I know if I need one?

This is a Water Quality Management Plan; please refer to the separate handout on this topic or contact Public Works with questions.

What is a W.R.R.P. and how will I know if I need one?

This is a Waste Reduction Recycling Plan. This Plan will be required for some projects that involve demolition. For additional information, contact the Environmental Programs Analyst.

Will I be required to pay school fees?

School fees are required for any new single family residence on property where there was no prior residence. School fees will also be required for additions in excess of 500 square feet. For additional information, contact the Santa Monica/Malibu Unified School District.

Will I be required to pay parkland fees?

Parkland fees will be required for single and multi-family structures on previously undeveloped land.

What is a “Will Serve letter”?

This is a letter that you will obtain from Los Angeles County Waterworks District 29, confirming that water will be provided to the proposed development. To obtain a will serve letter, go to the Waterworks District – their contact information is listed at the end of this guide.

Los Angeles County Fire Department  26600 Agoura Road Calabasas, CA 91302

TEL: 818-880 0341

Hours 7 am-9:30 am Mo-Th  inspector hours or 7 am – 11:00 am Mo-Th plan check counter hours


Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District 1651 Sixteenth St. Santa Monica, CA 90404



Los Angeles County Waterworks District 29 23533 Civic Center Way Malibu, CA 90265


Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please note that this information used to be available through the Malibu City web page. I have not been able to find this list but have published it here so that someone with little knowledge fo building can get a basic understanding. Some information may have changed. Please do contact the different departments in person and do not solely on this. I am real estate broker and not a builder. MB

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