building in Malibu

Things to consider when buying land in Malibu to build on:

  • Does the land have a certificate of compliance?

Land should conform with the land use and zoning laws  and needs to be legally sectioned off from a previously larger parcel. Having a certificate of compliance will verify this.

  • Has a geology report been done?

Investigating the geology by hiring a geologist will give you a better understanding of the cost of building on the land you intend to buy. Most land in the Malibu area whether it is in the city or not will require a septic system. Get a percolation test.


  • Does the seller have a topography map and was a survey done on the property?

How steep or flat your land is and how you are getting to the building site, are things to consider when buying land. Getting a survey will mark the area on the land you are buying; usually the surveyor will placing poles with a colored flags or mark the pavement. A topagraphy will show the peaks and valleys of the land.

  • How are you getting to the land?

Is the land along side a public road or do you get to it by a private road? When others share the road with you, a maintenance  agreement about cost sharing should be in place. The incline of this access road is important, as you will have to provide access to the fire department. Find out whether or not there is a water line nearby and what the water flow pressure is. Always ask questions.

Buying land can be very rewarding. Be prepared to have cash available to investigate these issues before you close on a land purchase. Below find some helpful links. They have been taken and put here for quick access. Please also visit Los Angeles County Public Works.

Look at this guide from the Malibu City building department.and the Residential Coastal Development flow chart. You may read this about the building process.

Go to this page for a directory of of the staff in the building safety/permits and environmental programs.

Below is a list of professionals. It is not my place to endorse any of them; there are many others that you or your architect may know that can do this work as well. These companies have done much work in Malibu and this is why they are listed here.

List of Surveyors:

Chris Nelson & Associates

Land & Air Surveying

Peak Surveys Inc

Malibu Hills with ocean views

List of geologist:

Mountain Geology Inc.

Robertson Geotechnical Inc.

RJR Engineering Group