By Helen Callier
February 6th, 2021
You’re a Construction Project Executive with demands to grow your business in 2021 and the new normal is causing budget strains from waiting around much longer than planned for building permits.
We get it! We hear the challenges from the many calls into our PermitUsNow’s toll-free line that sheds light on Contractors’ struggles in obtaining building permits in a timely manner.
Here’s a snapshot of industry permitting realities:
- Avoiding working in a particular jurisdiction when a small remodeling project that use to take 1 day for approval and permitting is now taking up to 2 weeks to be reviewed.
- Fretting on how to reach a Plan Reviewer to ask questions on building codes when the jurisdiction is short-staffed and the assigned Reviewer is not responding.
- And, a scratching head moment after receiving cryptic rejection comments for missing documents knowing that your submitted permit package included all required documents that jurisdiction says is missing and requesting you to submit.
It is an industry fact that when a Contractor is unable to pull a building permit in a timely manner, construction start dates are pushed out and preconstruction budgets begin to turn red signaling early warning signs for the project.
So, how do you handle today’s permitting challenges? What are some practical steps to mitigate delays in permitting and have a minimum impact on the allotted budget for obtaining the permit? And, how much time is best to allocate for permitting in the new normal environment?
The above questions are great questions, and for those that routinely read my articles, you know that I emphasize that using the basics wins a game every time. From golf to football to soccer to chess and including the permitting game, leaning on the basics is a safe bet to achieve desired goals.
Here are 7 steps to use when the playing field has changed at permitting centers.
- Start early: Proper preparation and early planning minimizes hiccups, oh I forgot to do’s and other misses. Review plans, obtain all necessary pre-requisite documents, check permit fees, and gather all necessary data for a successful game on the front-end.
- Sign up for Automatic Alerts: Yes, it is a pain to receive another email on top of the many emails you manage already daily. Signing up to receive alerts from a jurisdiction’s permitting center can save you thousands of dollars and lots of time.
- Use Checklists: Most jurisdictions across the US have helpful information on their permitting websites and offer checklists for various projects to help make sure plans are submitted properly for permitting. This is a key tool and especially for Project Executives that use lean construction to eliminate mistakes.
- QA/QC Permit Package: Everyone gets busy and taking a moment to QA/QC package before submitting saves time and money. Also, peer review can do wonders in catching any errors.
- Submit Plans: Refrain from guessing on the proper way to submit plans and ask for help. Placing a file in the wrong folder during electronic submission will cause a rejection. Follow the guidelines presented on most permitting web sites. If cannot locate guidelines, then call the Permitting Coordinator at the jurisdiction you are submitting plans to.
- Monitor Plan Reviews
- Perform Courtesy Outreach to Reviewer – Ginger reminders are valuable and help to keep your project on Reviewers’ radar. Note keyword – ginger.
That’s it for now. Make sure the basics are apart of your strategy and plan to obtain permits in a timely manner. Plan Reviewers are people too and the more you can do on the front-end to make it easier for the Plan Reviewer, the faster your permit can be flying into your hands. If you have any hey you really have to hear this story about permitting, please reach out to me on Linkedin or call 1.844.PERMIT.4.