In the City of Los Angeles, there is a way to phase your project if you ask for it. You may want to ask you local building official to do the same. It’s up to them but sometimes, waiting for the entire design of your project to be completed before you submit for a permit can cost you and your client a lot of time, dollars and anxiety.
Many developers will apply for the grading and foundation permit and while this is being reviewed for approval more time and thought can go into the design for the rest of the project.
Check with your local jurisdiction to see if phasing of construction projects is allowed. This may also help you meet the timing to get the groundwork completed before bad winter weather sets in.