Construction and permitting sunk after coronavirus hit

The number of permits issued in LA in Q2 2020 was 45% lower year-over-year

TRD LOS ANGELES /
Aug.August 05, 2020 01:00 PM
(iStock)
(iStock)

The number of building permits issued by the city of Los Angeles in the second quarter of this year was almost half of the number issued during the same period last year, a clear impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The L.A. Department of Buildings and Safety issued just over 26,300 permits from April 1 to June 30, or 45 percent of the roughly 48,000 issued last year, according to Urbanize. Furthermore, there was a 38 percent year-over-year decline in the total dollar figure value of permits issued.

There was also a 31 percent year-over-year decline in the number of plan checks, which are reviews of development plans submitted to the city for consideration.
While the pandemic as a whole clearly accounts for much of the slowdown, it’s difficult to pin down what exactly contributed to the declines in permits and plan checks.

It’s likely that stay-at-home measures made it harder for developers and city officials to move projects through the permitting process. It’s also likely that developers held off submitting new plans and pulling permits, recognizing the heightened complexity of construction amid a pandemic.

The city of L.A. did not shut down construction on a wide scale during the pandemic, although it did require certain safety measures in place under the threat of a stoppage.

There were around 152,000 people employed in the construction industry in L.A. County in January and that fell to low of around 130,900 in March, according to the L.A. Office of the Controller. As of June, the number of people employed in the industry had recovered to around 145,700. [Urbanize] — Dennis Lynch


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