1 - Excavation “U” Permit – Purpose and Definition

Revised on 08-02-2021


Graphic of a bulls eye targetExcavation “U” Permits are issued to public utilities and telecommunication companies regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of the State of California to install public utilities in the public right-of-way per LAMC 62.02, 62.03, 62.04, 62.05, 62.06, and 62.08-62.10 (AGF) (all sections and sub-sections).

What is considered a Utility – Traditional or Wet Utilities such as:

  • Water
  • Power
  • Gas
  • Unstable substances (defined by LAMC 62.00), such as:
    • petroleum distillates
    • butane
    • propane
    • oxygen
    • chlorine
    • steam
    • natural gas at a pressure exceeding 60 PSIG
    • any corrosive or toxic substance
    • all liquids in transmission lines and any other substance which the City Engineer may classify as unstable

What is considered Telecommunication – Telecommunication or Dry Utilities including Phone, Video, Internet, and Data transmission cables. These are primarily low voltage wire, cable or fiber communications network companies.

Above Ground Facility “AGF” – AGF applications are utility or telecommunication applications that accompany an Excavation “U” or Excavation “E” and Revocable permits that have above ground components. The specifications and procedures for Above Ground Facilities are described by LAMC 62.08 of the municipal code. AGFs generally require supplemental power permits to power the facilities; these are permitted under the Excavation “U” Permit once the AGF application is approved.    More information can be found in the AGF Application Section of this manual.

A U-Permit is NOT required in the following cases:

  • No Substructure Work – Work that contains no substructure work is not reviewed via a U-Permit.
  • Private Property - Work in the private property that is not in an easement dedicated to the City of LA
  • State Property – Work within the Caltrans right-of-way is exempt 
  • Pole Installation/Removal & Pole Anchors - When located within sidewalk areas (LAMC 62.02)
  • Vacated Streets – If there’s a recorded street vacation and no City of LA sewer/storm drain easements
  • Potholes & Soil Borings – If permitted under an E-Permit (can be permitted under a U-Permit if the Applicant has a franchise agreement with the CPUC)
  • Monitoring Wells – Typically permitted under an E-Permit (can be permitted under a U-Permit if the Applicant has a franchise agreement with the CPUC)
  • Maintenance Holes (MH) – MH Opening Permits are only issued to owners of the respective maintenance holes, owner’s authorized representatives, and licensed sewer or storm drain contractors. Visit the Development Services Procedures Manual for a FAQ on Maintenance Holes for additional information



Graphic of a magnifying glassExcavation “U” Permits are divided into two primary categories, utility and telecommunication.  The City also subcategorizes utility permits by small (1-99 sf), medium (100-1,000 sf), and large cuts (>1,000sf).

IMPORTANT NOTE:  There are two types of permits issued for excavations in or under the surface of any public street or public place as required and defined by LAMC Section 62.02(a) and LAMC Section 62.05.

  1. Excavation “E” – Excavation (E) permits are generally used for private construction such as footings, basements, building excavations, tunnels and pipelines crossing streets or by utility companies which make infrequent installations.  These permits typically require a cash or surety bond.  

    These permits are the for the installation, inspection, repair, abandonment, or removal of any tank, pipe, conduit duct, tunnel, or footing, or for any other purpose, or for any excavation on private property adjacent to a public street where lateral support to such street or improvements or property within such street is imperiled by the excavation.
  2. Excavation “U”Excavation utility (U) permits are issued to public utilities regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of the State of California.

Additional information about the types of permits an Applicant should apply for based on the scope of work, can be found under "Other BOE Permits/Processes, Technical Procedures, Permit Classification Matrix". 


graphic of a justice scaleThe following section of the LAMC pertain to Excavation “U” Permits: