When do You Need a Permit? (Part 1)

In an article published by the Roseville and Granite Bay Press Tribune on March 31,2017, we learn that permits for a development known as the Roseville shopping Center have been delayed.

The article reports that this project has been in planning for over 3 years and may be delayed even longer as the developer files for approvals needed from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

This shopping center is an example of a complex project requiring several special permits.  Most projects will be far less complex and most will never need approval from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Stories like these are why property Owners may have negative sentiments about construction permits.  They might even try to avoid filing.

In truth, filing for permits is the best way for owners to protect themselves and their investments.

There are many forms of permits and approvals.  The regulations that govern which permits are needed vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another.

It would be impossible to address them all!

This series will discuss the three most common approvals you might need.  To ensure you are properly addressing all the filings that apply to you, make sure to check with your local authorities.

The three most common approvals needed are as follows:

  1. Zoning Approvals
  2. Plan Reviews
  3. Work Permits

Throughout this multi-part series, I will outline the following key considerations so you can be prepared to discuss these items with your project team.

  1. Function – Permits have clear and distinct functions.  Generally speaking, all permits are meant to protect the public welfare.  When discussing the function of a permit we will explore the specific way each permit protects the Owner and the public.
  1. Jurisdiction – There are several layers of regulators in the construction industry.  Understanding which layer of regulator you are dealing with can help you to know your audience.  Knowing your audience will guide you in how to present your permit application and give you clues about what supporting information may help accelerate approval.
  1. Enforcement – In the field of construction, enforcement of regulations is often the duty of someone other than the legislator.  In some cases enforcement may even happen by someone outside of the jurisdiction.
  1. Filing Process – Each layer of regulation has its own distinct process for filing an application.  The specific logistics (i.e. the forms required, who receives the application, etc.) will come from your local authority, but when to file and what is needed will generally be the same.
  1. Responsible party – As is the case with every aspect of construction, it is important to establish a clear division of work.  Some permits must be filed by the property owner, others are filed by the Contractor.  Knowing which member of your project team holds responsibility will avoid confusion, ensure you don’t get surprised with a change order or face fines for failing to file.
  1. Fees. – The unfortunate fact is that there are fees associated with every permit.  Not just fees paid to the authority but also fees charged by the project team for preparation of documents and applications.  Fortunately these fees tend to be very low as a percentages of your project costs.  Regardless, we will discuss what fees you should expect for each permit.

Next week, we will discuss these 6 considerations with respect to zoning applications.

Until then, tell me whether you have ever failed to file a permit.  Were you able to complete your project without the permits?  Were you fined by your local authorities?  Or have you ever filed for a permit and been grateful that you did?  Tell me your stories.

Thanks for reading.  If you enjoyed this content, please feel free to browse my previous articles and please like, share, comment, and subscribe.  This helps promote my content and is greatly appreciated.

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