11/23/18 Update


Greetings from the Re-Bu Team at Burdge & Associates Architects!

Here is a REBUILD UPDATE as of 11/23/2018. The following is a reflection of what we have learned at the Malibu Disaster Assistance Center located at the old County Courthouse (next to Malibu library), our discussions with the city, and other local sources:


The strategy and timeline for the City of Malibu ‘back to business’ reopening is still very fluid and unclear, even to city employees. They are being told that City Hall should open the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, 11/28/2018. At the moment they are prioritizing the health and welfare of those who lost their homes.

Once the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health clears the entire City or an individual property, a Demolition Permit can be issued for the removal of damaged or destroyed structures. Beyond that employees have no clear understanding of the path ahead.

Clean up: The City is organizing an environmental group that will visit the sites ( the property owner doesn’t have to be there) and provide an environmental site assessment - to make sure that there are no hazardous materials present. 

All the addresses that are clear to be cleaned up  (meaning they don’t have any hazardous material present)  will be posted on the city website with instructions on how to proceed with the clean up.

Free Debris Removal Info Here.

Rebuild: To rebuild the burned homes the city will organize an emergency ‘office’ for faster processing of building permits. It will be located near city hall. To make sure that the burned house was already legal, (illegal homes will be not processed under ‘fast’ process) the city will use city files, OWTS permits/septic permits, assessor’s records, and google maps.

For those existing City of Malibu projects/clients currently ‘in the city planning or B/S process’, same applies as to when the city will be open again to get back to working on your specific projects 

More Malibu city info can be found here.


On the other hand, areas of unincorporated Los Angeles County have already been cleared by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and can begin removing damaged or destroyed structures. A Demolition Permit is requested but not required and they are free. After that, reconstruction will have to be processed in compliance with the new, 2015, County Local Costal Program. This creates additional issues because as we know only a handful of permits have been issued since that Program was handed down from the State.


General Information: Click Here

From the Planning Department regarding building: Click Here

FAQ: Click Here

Some general info:

Permits for all structures damaged by the fires will be expedited, but if the houses do not change their bed/bath count or stay under the existing permitted square footage, they are eligible for additional fast tracking, mainly with water service, etc.  More info here:  https://docs.vcrma.org/images/pdf/operations/req-thomas-fire-expedite-permit.pdf


They've also waived a number of permit fees for fire rebuilds, info here:



FEMA is present at the Malibu Library and able to help those who lost their home, or have a home or business that was damaged. Heard if your insurance does not cover damages, they are able to file a claim with FEMA and obtain additional funding to cover the cost of repairs that insurance does not. You can also apply online here.


There is rain on the forecast. Be prepared for future evacuations in certain fire-damaged neighborhoods due to potential serious MUD SLIDES. Sandbags are available at multiple city/county locations. Follow this link to find out where to get yours free.


Our office was miraculously spared (huge thanks to the LA County FD!), but we have many repairs to make. The entire property burned from the back hill all way to PCH (even some of our mail in the PCH mailbox was singed!)

Additionally, the back of the building and roof will be needing repairs. The inside of the office has been removed of all contents and is being professionally cleaned. AC Ducts, painting, and flooring is next! Our goal is to have our office reopen next Wednesday, 11/28/2018.

For those clients/others with meetings next week already set we are certainly very anxious to get back to our offices and continue to serve the community but of course want to return to safe and healthy conditions!

We are currently working on providing more thorough information on our RE-BU site and hope to have it up by next week full of resources for you.

So, until then, please gather around your friends and family during these most trying times and join us in saying Happy Thanksgiving to all…We have much to be thankful for!


Douglas Burdge, AIA

(post-fire photo courtesy of gentleman in seat 3A Delta Airlines flight 425")