We all know it’s best to get an expert on building permits and to get a building permit expeditor, but sometimes the budget or the project make it difficult to get a quality one. Worry not, my team at Permit Advisors Inc has compiled 5 tips and tricks to help you navigate the process like a pro! Stick with me as I break down some of the vocabulary and slang so you can succeed. Last note before we dive in, I always recommend giving me and my team a call-even on small projects-as we can help give you the right information.
Tip 1: Know if a building permit is required
This sounds a little silly but, let’s be clear. If you are doing a small upgrade to your existing space the scope of work may be under the local jurisdiction’s threshold requiring a permit. For example, you’re updating fixtures and finishes in a retail shop that already is compliant for per the building department then you’ll probably be told you don’t need to submit!
On the other hand, if you’re doing a Tenant Improvement (or TI, as we call it) you may be required to submit plans showing elevations, structural calculations, and maybe even racking where applicable. It’s important to know the threshold of your local government to understand if a building permit is required.
Tip 2: When You are Changing Signage
If you are changing anything exterior to a space, whether it’s a stand-alone sign or the signage on the edifice of the building, you are going to need to get a permit. Some cities won’t allow specific types of signage so as not to change the character of the neighborhood per the city council or city plan. Can you imagine neon lights in Beverly Hills? Just be sure to know exactly what type of signage is needed so you can route through the building department early.
Tip 3: Know Building Department Programs
Again, I need to foot stomp that getting a building permit expediter is the smartest move for this. But, if you are braving it alone you need to learn the individual building department’s programs that your project may qualify for. Here are some examples of programs to look for wherever you are working:
1. Over-the-counter requirements: if your project is small you can qualify to have it seen over-the-counter and even approved over-the-counter. But, don’t be fooled by how easy this seems. You need to ensure you have the local requirements met down to the most minute detail.
2. Express Checks: most cities call these types of check something fancy but they roughly are the same type of program. This is where you can cut review times in half depending on the size and scope of your project. You will need to make sure the plans don’t need to intersect with any other department as well.
3. Clearances: some cities will require other departments to look over the plans and confirm no additional permits are needed besides the building department. It’s important to know which cities have this requirement so you are prepared for the time it will take. Again, if you can get a local expert (ahem, Permit Advisors Inc) on your side this can be a smoother process.
Tip 4: Know when to get other departments involved
I stated in the last tip about clearances, and when you may need to get them. The difference between clearances and actually needing other departments depends on the scope of your project. Let’s say you are putting in a restaurant, then you may need to get a mechanical permit for overhead exhausts. If it’s a retail spot with a larger size and scope you may have the need for an air conditioning unit which will necessitate a mechanical permit. Similarly, your project many need electrical or plumbing permits. Be sure to know in advance that you will need these permits and engage with those departments appropriately. Also, note that most cities won’t approve a building permit without the other departmental permits being approved beforehand. In other words, you won’t get your building department because the electrical permit isn’t approved. It’s a pain, I know, but be prepared for this possibility.
Tip 5: Know when to get a building permit expeditor
Permits can be obtained by civilians, if you’ll excuse my phrasing, but there is a steep learning curve. Know when it’s smarter to get project management team on your project or projects, as the case may be. Let me give you an example, most of the time if your kitchen sink springs a leak you might be able to fix it. Then again, you might think that getting a plumber would be faster and cheaper for you in order to get your kitchen back to prime condition. It’s the same with permits. Know when to get a professional on your project.
As I draw this article to a close, I hope these tips are helpful to you as you decide whether to go it alone or get building permit expeditor. If you have any questions about building permits give me and my team a call. We can help you learn the best practices or take care of the project for you.
About Permit Advisors: Permit Advisors Inc. is a complete permit, entitlement consulting, and expediting firm based out of Beverly Hills, Ca. We go beyond just submitting plans, as you may have experienced with previous expediters. We have established strong relationships with officials of many municipalities and have numerous time and cost saving strategies that we implement to efficiently complete projects. We aim to secure all permits as quickly as possible! We keep track of all the different aspects of the permitting process and make sure that the project is being given full attention by everyone on the team. We responsibly update clients and ensure that lines of communication are open between the Jurisdiction, the consultants and the client at all times. Contact us today for a consultation www.permitadvisors.com.