The components of a permit application are jurisdiction, the application paperwork, the printing of sets of drawings / specifications, delivery, and the response to the inevitable corrections letter.
- Make a confirmed determination of jurisdiction as early as possible in the design process.
- Determine the city in which the project will be located.
- If the building has an occupant load UNDER 100, then the city where the project is proposed is usually the authority having jurisdiction. Verify this by calling the city’s building official.
- If the building has an occupant load OVER 100, then the authority having jurisdiction may be a larger government body - the county, or state.
- Determine how long the review will take before we are notified of approval or conditions.
- [This is a good place to store the circumstances that you normally find, so that you learn as you go.]
Building Permit Application
- Research the application requirements of the jurisdiction
- Obtain/print the application forms
- Pencil-in the information for the application that is known
- Gather unknown info for application
- Determine who has to sign and how the signature will be obtained
- Complete the final application form
- Save a PDF for the file
- Determine the number of sets of drawings required.
- Building permit may be phased, in which case just the applicable drawings are needed.
- Final permit requires all drawings of all disciplines.
- Order loose sets of just their discipline delivered to consultants.
- Consultants sign and stamp drawings.
- Place a second order that includes first picking up the consultants' loose sealed sets.
- The architectural sets are then printed and bound with the already signed/stamped consultant sets.
- Have the sets delivered to the architect for signing and stamping and local delivery.
- End here unless delivery will be by shipping the drawings.
- If the sets of drawings need to be shipped, then the architect's process is like the consultants' process.
- Final step is to have printer pick up all loose drawings, cover letter, application and check.
- Printer binds sets and ships for us.
- Confirm this last step with blueprint house.
- Hand deliver drawings with application if local.
- Use office credit card or a check to pay application fee.
Corrections Letter Response
- Once the plans have been reviewed, there is often a need to clarify or change the documents based on a Corrections Letter from the authority having jurisdiction.
- The letter will list the needed corrections for, or conditions of, approval.
- Share the letter with our consultants and get their responses or corrected documents that address the issues under their control.
- Document how we plan to comply as demonstrated in the example letter. Use this example as a model to start the response to the Corrections Letter.
You will almost certainly want to modify this process for your circumstances. But the point is to have a plan that you work toward implementing while you are completing the drawings and preparing to go out for bids. We have found in recent years new code-related requirements are cropping up. Two that come to mind are:
- showing documentation on the drawings of how special inspections (IBC requirement that jurisdictions interpret differently) will be completed and by whom, and
- showing occupant loads, and exit capacities on the drawings.
Having a documented process makes it easier to hit all the compliance bases without losing your momentum or encountering delays.