There is an old adage that says” An emergency on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part!” In trying to obtain your building permit try to remember those words of wisdom.
All building departments have a set way of applying for a permit. Some have different forms for different types of projects. A house application may be more complicated say, then a small deck. Many have permits for roofing, plumbing changes or upgrades, fencing and the like. Many jurisdictions do not require permits at all for things like a concrete patio on grade or a simple gazebo. You find out if a permit is required by ASKING! A simple phone call to the building inspectors’ office will get you the answer. If a permit is required, follow these simple steps:
1. Visit the office and obtain a permit application.
2. Complete the application in its entirety. DO NOT leave half of the spaces blank. Inspectors are not mind readers. They will not remember the information from a permit you had 4 years ago. FILL in all the spaces. Manual J If the space is not applicable, mark it so or put N/A in the space. That way they know you did not leave out the information by mistake. (One of my favorite sentences from a prospective applicant is: “I spoke to you about a year and half ago, etc. etc.”. I always want to reply, ” Yes, and I’ve been patiently waiting for you” but I don’t.
3. Submit the application in a timely manner. Ask how long the average permit takes to issue and be patient. There are others in front of you waiting for their permits and depending upon the size of the department and the number of applications they receive, it could take 10 days or longer. PLAN AHEAD! DO NOT tell the inspector ” I have to have my permit tomorrow or my contractor says he can’t come back for 2 months”. You may hear “Tell your contractor you’ll see him/her in two months”. DO NOT ask to have your application jumped in front of others. No building department will do that and if they did, the next person who asks, will be jumped in front of YOU!
4. Submit the forms along with any required paperwork such as drawings, site plans, product information or other data that may help the building inspector understand what you want to build. They may ask for more information but if you submit it up front, your permit process will go that much more quickly. If they have to wait for more paperwork; the delay is yours, not theirs. Your 10 days (example) stops when they call, and restarts when you provide the information. If that takes you a week, just add that to the10 day period. Now your permit time is up to 17 days.
5. DO NOT call every day to see if your permit is ready. They will call you when it is done unless they tell you to call on such and such a date. DO NOT be a pest! Building departments do not purposely hold up your permit applications. Depending on the amount of permits being applied for, amount of inspections they have each day, number of walk-ins each day, is what controls the time frame for permit issuance.