By Helen Callier
October 10th, 2019
Markets go up and down, but the requirements to comply with building codes and standards are a constant reality. That is one thing we have learned over the years of pulling building permits across many geographical regions.
So, as other Contractors may complain about business slowing down in their area, know that like Jerry Rice, the greatest Wide Receiver in NFL history, it is best to play full out all the time in pulling building permits. Building permits keep you in compliance, provide clarifications on your projects, and help you to build safe structures.
For example, some industry construction data from this month show building activities are down in some residential markets in the West Coast and even in parts of Texas and other geographical markets show signs of slowing in commercial projects. You can buckle at the knees and become fraught with worry on ways to cut corners including forgoing pulling a permit or you can move forward in executing a sound pre, during and a post-construction plan involving adhering to local jurisdiction building codes.
To assist your Construction, Architectural or special trades firm in pulling permits regardless of market economics, below are 7 ways to play ball in permitting.
#1. Understand the Playing Field – visit the jurisdiction web site to check on the latest changes in permitting processes, building codes, new systems, and organizations’ changes, etc. Doing prior to submission will minimize delays in permitting and save you money.
#2. Focus on Your Preconstruction Checklist Activities – checklists are wonderful tools to keep your processes and deliverables against the construction schedule on track. They are inexpensive to use and like the above point, this chart of x’s and o’s will help you in the permitting process. Make sure you are diligent during preconstruction as this phase positions you for success during the rest of the game and sets the tone for pulling a permit in a timely manner.
#3. Ask Questions – Making inquiries to Plan Reviewers, Plan Analysts, etc. cost you zero dollars and provide huge returns. Yes, your area jurisdiction’s Plan Reviewers are busy. Yes, you might not receive a callback or response to your email in a time frame you were expecting, but keep calling, and emailing until you receive an answer. Why? This is the ultimate time and money saver and it is a low-cost way to make sure your permitting package is spot-on prior to submission.
#4. Check the Jurisdiction’s Website – It is true that some jurisdiction’s web sites are sparse with information including outdated forms. We have found that across the States, most jurisdiction web sites offer a plethora of information on permitting residential, commercial, industrial and other kinds of projects.
#5. Punt Making Assumptions – Guessing how a Plan Reviewer may view of the way your plans attempt to satisfy building codes is a risky path the run. We have heard this too many times from Contractors making an assumption and after the 2nd rejection, call us to help. To stay in the game and on a timely track to obtain your building permit, consider doing your prework including reviewing web sites and contacting the jurisdiction for clarification prior to submitting.
#6. Respond to Jurisdiction Rejection Comments – It is an awful feeling sometimes to receive a lot of rejection comments on your plans. When you consistently receive repeat comments, that is a sure sign that the jurisdiction comments were not addressed; and on some occasions, it may indicate that the Plan Reviewer simply did not see the response. Even the latter scenario occurs, our data reveals that the Contractor, Architect or Project Owner missed responding to a rejection comment.
#7. Realize Compliance Matters – Building codes and design standards shape the plays that Contractors and Architects must comply with in order to make sure safe structures are built. This is a reality in today’s world.
In closing, economies and markets are cyclical and like in football, consistency in sound play patterns, and executing the basics win games. And this same wisdom applies to permitting. Factor in, do the early work and move forward in pulling permits when local codes and ordinances dictate. If you have any stories or tips to share in permitting, I love to hear them. Please connect with me on Linkedin or call 1.844.PERMIT.4.