Permit Expediting

Opportunities for Building Designers Post 13 of 20

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There are times when the client will want to expedite the project by applying for building permits before the bid-stage or the securing of a general contractor.

When that is the case, you are in a unique position to navigate the paperwork required by your cities’ planning department. Permit expediting services may be a perfect fit for your menu of services provided after the design phase.

How do you get Permit Expediting work?

Very much like offering construction administration services, your existing clients are your best opportunity for diversifying.

However, with your knowledge in technical details, such as building permits, code compliance, environmental regulations, and other necessary codes, your marketing could extend way beyond just your clients.

Building contractors hire permit expeditors regularly and therefore, are a prime market.

Join local home builder and general contractor associations, then become involved. Volunteer for association committee work and attend socials, evening mixers, and educational conferences.

By showing an interest in helping the builders be successful in their business, in turn, they will take an interest in helping you grow your business.

How to prepare for Permit Expediting?

To begin, become exceedingly familiar with the forms and processes at each of the local building departments.

While you are at it, visit with and get to know the staff at each jurisdiction.

Ask them to share tips on how you can provide your service in a way that helps make their jobs easier for them.

The better the working relationship between you and the building department staff, the more in demand your permit expediting services will be.

Woman in business suit with yellow hard hat giving a thumbs up toward the camera. There's text that says "Permit approved! With no comments!" which is obviously referring to Permit Expediting.

How to handle Permit Expediting?

The permitting process has grown to be a frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive mission.

The service you are offering your clients is to make the process of applying for a permit less confusing. Particularly now that many building departments are offering (some requiring) electronic submittals.

Once you learn the software and the processes, what seems daunting to others becomes an excellent opportunity for the building designer, a task that an entry-level employee can be trained to perform.

Although in most cases, your work will not physically speed up the process, you can make the process work as efficiently as possible.

Again, building a relationship with the building, planning, and zoning department staff is paramount. Get to know the paperwork and the processes.

Create an exhaustive checklist, even though you designed the building, there are typically other items needed that was beyond your scope, such as property boundary surveys, product approval reports, roof truss engineering, among other things.

Also, be highly knowledgeable about each municipality’s planning and zoning ordinances, as well as local amendments to the building code.

Another critical factor in this process is streamlining the communication between the building department and the client.

Overall, every person involved in building construction should be aware of all review status timelines and requirements.

Provide scheduled updates; weekly is recommended to a point and then daily when more detailed progress begins, even when there is nothing to report.

As you gain experience, you’ll be able to console the client by explaining what to expect when it comes to timeline and reactions to submittals.

Keep data on previous permit applications, what type, how many departmental approvals, and calendar.

Lastly, submittals for pre-design review can be invaluable when determining materials and code compliance issues, when available through the local jurisdiction.

There are few things more frustrating than completing a building plan only to learn months later that something is not up to code.

This step is particularly true if you are dealing with a historic site or property, as these often have legal bindings on them.

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