Understand the nuances of the permit process to avoid wasting time.
by Amelia Messamore
October 22, 2013

Keeping track of all the permit requirements for various projects in different jurisdictions can be difficult. Even if you are aware of all the details, you may face lengthy delays for permit reviews. A member of the Construction Business Owner LinkedIn group asked the following question:

What can we do to manage compliance with all the permit requirements in our industry and delays for permit reviews?

Jonathan M. Boston
Director, Inside Sales
Sage Construction and Real Estate

“Understanding the permit process from the initial submittal through the final building and safety department requirements can minimize this complex process. Creating a checklist on the permitting requirements by your project’s jurisdiction will be key in minimizing the approval time involved. If you don’t begin with your detailed list, you invariably miss something, and missed items always cause significant delays.

Other things that will help the process include front-end preparation, getting to know the local building department personnel, using construction software to help streamline the process and setting a correct level of expectation. The building department is responsible for architectural, structural, environmental and safety compliance and will require an organized, disciplined presentation on the part of the applicant so the review process goes quickly and smoothly. Working together and addressing every foreseeable detail up front will help both parties get the job done right and efficiently.”

Mike Robinson
President
PermitPlace

“Consider outsourcing such work to a planning and permit expediting firm. Planners and permit expediters make it their business to keep up with all the local codes, changes to the codes and relationships with the local municipal authorities and will fight for your project. If you are doing permitting in house, then make sure that you know what cities your company works in the most, and start to keep track of the requirements. Take note of and check timeframes as well as changing requirements and forms. Many cities keep this information on their website, so keep it all in a spreadsheet so your project does not get delayed.”

Steven M. Todd
President and Co-Founder
Express Permits Company

“The most common thing that can slow the process of a permit is code interpretation. Many jurisdictions have adopted the ICC code of compliance; however, they may add additional local code requirements. If the architecture or engineer drawings do not reflect all requirements, the review will most commonly halt until revised plans are submitted. Most revisions can be prevented by simply understanding the codes related to the project. In addition, many local building departments have outsourced the review process, which can add more lag time due to the transporting of the application from one office to another. Having the contractor registration, insurance, bonds and workers compensation completed before permit submittal is also helpful.”

What’s your construction business question? Email CBO’s associate editor at amessamore@cahabamedia.com to submit a question for a future Case Study.