Building permits are a necessity for any type of construction work. The permit is a document meant to protect life and property against damage, injury or death caused by worst case scenarios of prevailing conditions. Depending on the location of the project a building permit may take into account seismic loads from earthquakes, weight loads from snow and ice or wind loads from hurricane force winds. Building codes have been established to set minimum standard requirements for such load criteria and in order to obtain the proper building permits for a project, a contractor must provide drawings, calculations and product information to prove that his or her plans for the project will meet or exceed those standards. A contractor must be licensed, insured and registered with the jurisdiction in which the work will be performed before a permit application can be submitted.
State building codes prevail over the work to be done as well as county and city requirements. City regulations vary from one city to the next and they can be very particular about what they will allow to be done in their jurisdictions. Some cities have Architectural or Historic Review Boards who can dictate the design, size, color or materials to be used on a project. Many communities within a city or county’s jurisdiction have their own Homeowner’s or Condominium Association rules to abide by and most cities will not issue a building permit without written approval from the governing board of the association. Many times, photographs of the job location, color renderings and material and color samples must be supplied to be considered for approval.
When applying for a permit the contractor must submit with the application, a recent survey of the property, any required approvals and detailed engineering drawings showing material types, thicknesses, and connections along with fastening methods and locations to the existing structures. The design and all of the details must be backed up by calculations performed and sealed by a registered professional engineer to prove that the structure meets local building code requirements. The submission must now be reviewed by the proper divisions of the building and zoning department.
There is no way to predict how long it will take for the review process and it can sometimes take many weeks before it is approved. A reviewer may sometimes ask for additional information which extends the waiting time. There is no set formula for determining the cost of the permit because it varies from city to city.
The permitting process can be tedious and time consuming but work on the jobsite can commence until it is in hand. At Thompson Architectural Products we take the job from conception through the design, engineering, approval and permit processes as efficiently as possible. Our permit expeditors know what it takes to get the paperwork through the building permit maze with a minimum of delays. Call us with any questions that you might have about the permit process.