Do I Need a Roofing Permit to Re-roof My Home?

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If you’re thinking about re-roofing your home, it’s important to learn more about the various permits and requirements that you’ll want to adhere to in order for the project to be a successful one. A roofing permit allows contractors to place a new roof on a home or commercial property in accordance with local code requirements. The goal of obtaining a roofing permit is to make sure that the new roof is up to code. A roofing project involves a roof being placed on a newly constructed home or an existing roof being replaced with a new one.

Before you seek a roofing permit for the project, keep in mind that permits are necessary for certain projects but not all of them. Some smaller projects don’t require a permit to be completed, which can save both time and money that can otherwise be spent on other projects.

This article takes a closer look at what you need to re-roof your home and if a roofing permit is required.

Requirements of Re-Roofing Your Home

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When you want to re-roof your home, the LADBS allows a permit to be issued for this type of project in the event that you use such roofing materials as asphalt/fiberglass composition shingles or built-up roofing.

Asphalt/fiberglass Composition Shingles

Asphalt/fiberglass composition shingles are shingles that consist of a fiberglass mat with an additional layer of asphalt above it. When you’re searching for the right shingles for your roof, you may notice that some shingles are labeled as asphalt shingles with others being labeled as composition shingles. These two terms usually mean the same thing and will provide you with the same type of roofing material.

Built-up Roofing

As for built-up roofing, this is an exceedingly common roofing material for low-slope roofs. This type of roofing is comprised of separate layers of reinforcing fabric and asphalt, which are finished with an uppermost layer of aggregate. The most common aggregate materials include gravel and stone. This specific type of material is ideal for low-slope roofs because it is a continuous surface without any breaks in it. As for asphalt shingles, they aren’t sealed, which is why they require a steep slope to get rid of the water that gets into the crevices.

construction worker on top of a building during sunset

Each package of the roofing material that you use will need to be outfitted with a label of the agency that was involved with inspecting the roofing materials once they were manufactured. Keep in mind that the use of these roofing materials will allow you to obtain an express permit through LADBS, which requires hardly any wait times and can be approved online. If you want to use another roofing material for your re-roofing project, you will need to look into seeking a permit from the Construction Services Center of LADBS.

It’s important to seek a permit for these roof covering materials because having a permit on hand will allow you to avoid any violations of building code while the project is ongoing. In order for the express permit to be used for asphalt shingles or built-up roofing, you will need to place the roof covering over solid sheathing. If the roof is comprised of space sheathing, the current roof covering will need to be removed entirely before you install some OSB or CDX sheathing. If you adhere to the recommendations mentioned in this guide, you might only be required to obtain a single inspection when the re-roofing has been completed.

How Do I Apply for a Roofing Permit?

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When you want to apply for a roofing permit, you should be able to do so through the LADBS, which is the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. If you are looking to re-roof your home with any of the aforementioned roof coverings, you will need to apply for a structural permit, which is essentially the same as a building permit.

The structural permits available at LADBS include:

  • An express permit
  • Acounter plan check
  • An expanded counter plan check
  • A regular plan check
  • A permitting process

While the latter three options aren’t necessary for a roofing project, you may require one of the first two permits if you want to be able to eventually sell your home without running into any issues.

If you decide to use one of the two materials mentioned previously, you should be able to obtain an express permit, which will allow you to apply online instead of going to one of the five LADBS offices throughout Los Angeles. Applying for an express permit is simple. Once you send in your online application, the permit should be approved or denied within a matter of 45 minutes. In order to get your permit online, you will first need to create an account on the LADBS website, which can be done at this link.

roofing construction worker with clear sky

While being able to apply for a roofing permit online makes for a straightforward permitting process, using any other roof covering material aside from the ones mentioned previously means that you will likely require a counter plan check, which can only be applied for at the Metro, Van Nuys, West LA locations for LADBS.

These applications are usually reviewed at the counter immediately after you walk into the building. Once you provide your application to a staff member at LADBS, the application should be approved or denied within 45-60 minutes. For a simple re-roofing project, you’ll likely need to submit your project plan alongside the application. If you have any additional questions about the permitting process, you can contact lADBS by dialing 311 if you live in LA or by calling them at (213) 473-3231.

Re-Roofing Without a Permit

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Re-roofing without a permit can be a serious problem that comes with costly consequences. If you happen to complete a re-roofing project without a permit, you will be in violation of the Los Angeles building code, which may come with fines. When you have been found in violation of the LA building code, the LADBS will enforce the code by requiring you to stop work on the project or by tasking you with removing the work that you’ve done before you can apply for the necessary building permit. This type of permit typically costs around $400.

In the meantime, you will need to pay expenses for reversing the work that you’ve done while also paying for new roofing materials to use once you’ve obtained a permit, which can be costly. While it can be frustrating and time-consuming to make corrections for non-permitted work, there are a range of additional consequences that can result from not having a permit when you complete a re-roofing project. For instance, this change to your home will almost certainly be caught if ever you decide to sell your home.

When the home is appraised, the inspector who looks through the property will note that you have changed the roofing material since the home was last inspected. Keep in mind that the appraisal process usually occurs when the home is being closed on, which means that you run the risk of the buyer backing out of the purchase of your home. While the buyer might not be too wary about purchasing a property that comes with a non-permitted roof, the lender they are seeking a mortgage loan from may be hesitant to approve the loan because of the non-permitted work.

Trying to get by without a permit isn’t worth the hassle and expenses that will invariably result from being caught. While it can cost upwards of $400 to obtain a permit for a re-roofing project, this permit can be applied for online, which will allow you to receive approval almost immediately and removes much of the frustration that can come with seeking a permit. As such, there’s no reason not to obtain a permit before you begin on your re-roofing project.

Types of Roof Permits

white and brown house for sale with new roof

There are several different types of roof permits that you should be aware of to make sure that you apply for the right one. For a residential re-roofing project, you should be able to get by with an over-the-counter express permit, which allows for same-day processing and applies to the tear-off and overlay portions of this type of project. In the event that your re-roofing project is part of a larger development project, additional permits may be necessary.

For instance, a separate roofing permit must be obtained for installing a roof on a new home. It’s also important to note that commercial re-roofing projects require an entirely different roofing permit. The difference with these permits is based on the size of the project at hand as well as the type of project that you wish to complete.

Standard Re-roofing Permit

The standard re-roofing permit can be downloaded through this link. This particular permit application applies to all residential re-roofing projects.

Commercial Re-roofing Project

If you require a permit application for a commercial re-roofing project, the application can be downloaded through a PDF file here. This particular permit application covers all commercial re-roofing projects regardless of their size.

Constructing a new Home

If you are constructing a new home, you can choose to apply for a roofing permit as opposed to a re-roofing permit. The roofing permit is available to download here.

ariel view of construction site rooftop

Roofing permits are relatively simple to obtain as long as you apply for the correct one. With a permit in hand, you can be confident that the work you do on your home is legal and won’t be flagged if ever you decide to place your home on the market. You’ll also be able to avoid the extra fees and expenses that come with making corrections to work that you’ve already done. When you want to apply for a roofing permit, the LADBS makes it easy for you.

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