Permitting Process 101

Are you getting ready to start a project? Big or small, you must obtain a Building Permit and the complexity of this process depends on the town or city that you live in. While you would think that the larger the city the harder the process is, that’s not necessarily true. Unfortunately, building is a fairly political process and small towns can really struggle with development while larger cities have the permitting process (especially after covid) down to an online process. 

Regardless of where you live, you will need to submit a set of drawings that define the following:

  • Foundation size with dimensions
  • All existing and proposed floor plans with interior layout
  • Rooflines defined with roof pitches
  • Details of roof and foundation
  • Elevations of all the sides of the home showing existing and proposed heights
  • Sections through the defined structure of the home

You will need to submit a set of plans that do not have a watermark on them and most of the time, these can be submitted through an online portal depending on the town or city. This can be confusing for the average homeowner, so remember that you can always call or drop by city hall and ask questions. These are government employees that are there working for you and they can be a wonderful resource!

Some towns (few and far between now) require a full set of plans to be submitted. This means printing out a large set of plans at a local print shop and hand carrying them into town hall. Printing the plans is expensive so before doing this, make sure that everything is correct and that your application is properly aligned. For example, you will probably have architectural, civil and structural engineering so make sure that everything is updated between those three companies. 

Lastly, organization is key! If there are emails between yourself and the town / city, make sure that you save ALL of them. You can go through and delete them after permits are in hand but you will want to keep all records of communication. And if you do have architectural, civil and structural engineering, you should save these communications as well.

Special Note: the FINAL version of the plans should be saved in your Dropbox or similar filing system. You have paid a lot of money for these so make sure you retain them for your records, I promise that they will come in handy should you sell the house or do any further work on it in the future.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Amy Dutton Home or Abrigo Home to help you through the permitting process, we would be happy to partner with you!

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