By Helen Callier
March 25th, 2020
Here’s what we have learned over the years in expediting building permits across the state of Texas and areas in the United States: Regardless if the economy is hot, warm or cold, obtaining a building permit fast is crucial for starting a project on time and in opening new businesses, roadways, etc. for use. This is also the case during natural catastrophes like floods along the Gulf Coast and even when health epidemics occur.
To assist your design or construction company in obtaining a building permit in a timely manner, below you will find 5 basic tips to minimize contributing factors that can cause a delay.
- QA/QC all documents in your permit package prior to submitting to jurisdiction
- Check jurisdiction’s web site for guidelines and checklists based on your project type
- Call jurisdiction’s Plan Reviewers and Plan Analysts to discuss areas of concerns
- Ask a building code and permitting expert for assistance
- Address all RFI’s with enough details versus leaving blank
In addition, with the epidemic causing a lot of concerns for Architects, Project Owners and Contractors, we are monitoring state of Texas area jurisdictions impact on staffing, hours of operations, type of submissions, and other changes in processes that may delay plan reviews and issuance of permits. Also, most of the jurisdictions that we work with realize the importance of their role and are responding as quickly as possible. All the jurisdictions that we have spoken with are attempting to adhere to normal plan review times, but you should plan for a delay of some magnitude.
Here’s the Latest News on Some Texas Area Permitting Centers
- CITY OF PEARLAND (COP) – As of the time of writing this article, COP jurisdiction is business as usual. Check web site for the latest on operation and staff levels.
- CITY OF DALLAS (COD) – Electronic submissions of permit packages is the current process. Appointments are required to meet with a Plan Reviewer and to drop off any documents.
- CITY OF HOUSTON (COH) – All paper plans are to be converted to soft copy and all submissions are to be done electronically. You can check the web site for information and guidance on submitting online. Inspections at the time of this writing are being completed as usual.
- CITY OF AUSTIN (COA) – Onsite meetings occur by appointments only with Plan Reviewers. Inspections are being handled virtually. More information is available on COA’s web site.
- CITY OF SAN ANTONIO (COSA) – At the time of this article, it is business as usual and inspection are as usual. Please monitor the web site for any changes as things are changing rapidly or you can call PermitUsNow at 1.844.PERMIT.4.
- FORT BEND COUNTY – Meetings with Plan Reviewers and to drop off any documents are by appointment only at the time of this writing. Inspections are as usual.
- HARRIS COUNTY – Accepting plans electronically.
The 5 basic tips shared above are meant to alert the design and construction community to keep in mind simple steps to use to minimize frustration and delays in city permitting. We suggest staying in close communications with jurisdictions, monitoring permitting centers’ web sites, answering your phone, and checking your email to make sure progress is being made. Whether the construction market in your region is hot, warm or cold for whatever reason, obtaining a building permit in a timely manner is vital to help make sure structures of all kinds are built safe and ultimately, aid in improving quality of life. If you have updates on changes at jurisdictions and tips on permitting, please let me know. I love to hear from you at 1.844.PERMIT.4 and Linkedin.