Half the battle with any retail project is really understanding how the retail permitting process works.
DO: Know how many permits you need
Looks can be deceiving and some permit expeditors will tell you that you need just a building permit when what they really mean is a building permit package. Let’s talk about a normal store to understand my point here. If you are operating a shoe shop you will need some sort of shelving on which, you will literally, hang your shoes. Additionally, in the back of the store you will have shelves upon shelves to store the stock. If shelves are over a threshold most cities will demand additional “racking” permits with mounting calculations being demonstrated on the plans. In this same shoe shop you may want some edgy down-lighting which will require the use of a electrical permit inspection depending on how many fixtures and the electrical loads. Let’s also say that your shoe shop will be over a certain square footage so a bathroom will be required by code. This now necessitates a plumbing permit along with an American’s with Disabilities Act check of your plans and shop. Okay, what is the tally of required permits for your one shop? 5 permits. So, it’s important that you know how many permits your project needs, really, so that you aren’t surprised when the timelines are longer than expected.
Don’t: Forget About ADA
American’s with Disabilities Act is a hot button issue and has been for the last 5 years in the development industry, and whether it is predatory lawsuits or confusing regulations you need to understand what to do with your concept. When interviewing the sales person from your retail permit expediter ask them about specific ADA code in the area you are developing and see what sort of reaction you get. Ask them about ramps, railings, and even door clearances. If they have one person on their staff that handles all ADA ask to speak with them, and get a sense of who will be representing you when negotiating these plan checks on your behalf.
Do: Get a Retail Permit Expeditor
This sounds self-serving, I am aware, but I wouldn’t be in the permit expediting business if I didn’t feel that we add value to some of the most amazing innovations in the industry. When you are looking to find a good consultant to handle your permits for you think about the regional expertise you will need. Some consultants have a “sweet spot” in a region like Houston or Miami. Another consideration is to ask who specifically they know in the region and verify that contact. Maybe even call them to see what it is like working with them. Lastly, and more importantly as around the industry to see what reputation that consultant has. Have they worked with other architects and retailers? Were they liked? Are they trusted? The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
In closing, heed my words as you embark on permitting your retail concept. Retail permit expediting services are built to help you.