Take the Pain Out of Project Permitting with These Tips from the Apex PROs
What can we say, we love what we do – from designing the storage solutions that get the most of your warehouse space to integrating and installing the moving parts that work seamlessly together – it makes all the hard work worthwhile. But we’d be lying if we said it’s ALL fun and games. One task, in particular, that proves to be a project management headache is Permitting!
Permitting is a critical part of any project, but since requirements vary from state to state and even city by city, it requires a strategic approach to ensure it goes smoothly. The process we’ve developed ensures that the job gets done right without costly delays, downtime, and stress often associated with the process. Follow the Apex way to a more successful permitting experience.
Permitting the Apex Way
Step 1 – Pre-Submittal
Permits are usually issued by the city in which the facility is located. Begin by contacting the city building department to answer the following questions:
A. Confirm project address is in that jurisdiction. Does City, County, Township, or another municipality have jurisdiction over the project?
B. Verify required documentation:
- Application form
- Stamped drawings & calculations – how many sets?
- Are additional plans required? Supplemental plans can usually be obtained through the customer or general contractor; for example, egress plans, site plan, fire sprinkler plan, high-piled storage plan (high-piled plan may require a separate permit based on the inventory).
C. How long is the plan review process? Inquire if they offer expedited review.
D. Do any other departments review the permit, i.e. Fire Dept. or Zoning?
- What are the required fees, if any?
- Is payment due with the submittal?
- What is an acceptable form of payment?
F. What is the permit pick-up process?
G. What is the inspection process?
Note: Always get the name and phone number of the person you spoke to at the building department.
Step 2 – Submission
The submission packet is ready to submit once all required documents are in hand. Many cities have converted to E-submittal or online submission, particularly since the recent health challenges; however, packets can also be mailed via UPS or other dependable carriers.
A. Within a day of submittal (delivery confirmation), call to confirm that everything was received.
B. Make note of the date permit was submitted. Follow up with the city based on the timeline you received regarding plan-review duration.
Step 3: Comments/Re-Submittal
Expect comments from the city once the application is reviewed.
A. It is important to read and review all the comments and provide answers or additional information as requested.
- If drawings need corrections, have them corrected by a CAD Manager (preferably the person that created the original drawings).
- If the stamped drawings/Calcs need corrections, reach out to a Stamping Engineer.
- If customer-provided drawings need corrections, reach out to the customer.
B. Call the city and confirm the following:
- How to re-submit the permit documents?
- Re-Review duration?
Step 4 – Permit Approval/Pick-Up
The city will usually contact you when the permit is approved and ready for pick up. If not contacted within the expected review time frame, follow up with the city.
A. Pay for the permit and obtain a receipt. This cost is passed along to the customer, and a receipt is required.
B. Confirm who will pick up the permit.
C. Once the permit is picked up, it needs to go to the job site and be kept there until the job is completed and the final inspection has been passed.
Step 5 – Inspections/Permit Close-Out
Before racking can be loaded with product and passed on to the waiting customer, a formal inspection with the city needs to be scheduled. An inspector will come out to the job site, inspect the project, and if no issues are found, will sign off on the permit and approve the racking for use. It is common for the inspector to look at life safety items (lighting, exiting, fire extinguishers, signs) to sign-off on the rack.
A. Inspections are typically scheduled with 24-hours’ notice, by calling the Building Dept. of the city.
B. Confirm if any 3rd party inspections are required. In many states, 3rd party anchor inspections are usually required prior to city inspections.
C. “Partial Inspections” can be scheduled to get certain portions of rack approved for use, before the entire project is complete.
D. Once “Final Inspection” is approved, let the customer know.
E. Document ALL permit & inspection costs gathered throughout the permit process. This includes any: stamped/signed drawings, anchor inspections, permit fees, etc. Process expenses through the proper channel for invoicing.
One Last Step
The easiest way to ensure that your permitting process goes smoothly is to call the Apex team. Apex Companies seamless approach will take you from pallet racking system design to project management and installation… all the way to final inspections and close-out. The project isn’t complete until the customer is happy. Call Apex today.
Learn more about Apex Project Management and Installation teams in our Project Spotlights.