Permit Term and Acronym Definitions

Permit Definitions

As you go through the permitting process, industry professionals and plan review personnel may throw some terms or acronyms your way. You must understand what each means because miscommunications lead to project delays. 

Below we’ve listed the most common terms you’ll encounter throughout the permitting process and their definitions. 

Appointment Plan Check (APC): An APC is a scheduled time to review your plans with a plan checker or building official. This in-person (or virtual) review helps reduce confusion about corrections because you can ask questions and request clarifications.

Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN): APN is a number designated to each plot of land by the county tax assessor’s office for tax purposes. Every property will have an APN. However, more than one address may be associated with one parcel number. 

Corrections: Corrections are updates plan check professionals ask you to make to your plans because the planned construction is incorrect or not to code. Your design team must address all corrections and get them approved before your permit is issued. 

Electronic Plan Review: Electronic plan review (EPR) is the process of reviewing and approving construction plans and other related documents using electronic tools and software. Instead of submitting physical copies of plans and documents, the applicant submits digital versions that the reviewing agency can review and mark up electronically.

Expedited Review: An expedited review is a type of plan check that can cut weeks or months off the permit review process. What qualifies for expedited review varies by jurisdiction, but often, the more complicated a project, the less likely it will be eligible for expedited review. This type of plan check also typically involves a more significant processing fee, which in the end, tends to be a fair trade for opening your doors weeks sooner. 

Jurisdiction Holding Authority (JHA): The JHA is the municipality that governs the activities of the property in question. JHAs can be at the city, borough, county, state, and country levels. They are also known as Authoring Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). 

Outside Plan Check Agency: An outside plan check agency is a third-party consultant contracted by the city or county jurisdiction to perform plan reviews instead of doing so internally. With staffing shortages and project backlogs, the involvement of these agencies is becoming more common. 

Over-the-Counter Permits (OTC): OTC permits are issued when the application is submitted, meaning there is no plan check or plan review required except for what is done immediately at the counter. These permits usually pertain to common, simple projects. 

Plan Check/Plan Review: A plan check is when a JHA accepts and reviews your project plans. Plan check professionals review your documents and, where necessary, make comments and corrections. Once returned, your job will be to correct and update the plans based on their feedback. This process can take anywhere from days to months.

Property in Question (PIQ): PIQ refers to the property that is the subject of a permit application or review, or the property being considered for a particular use or development.

Ready to Issue (RTI): RTIs are plans approved and signed off on by all appropriate parties. When this happens, your permit can be issued and contractors can begin work.

Redlines: Redlines are issued corrections written directly on the plans in place of or in addition to the correction sheet. As the name suggests, these are usually written in “red” ink.

Review Time: Review time is the time necessary for plan checkers to complete their review of your project and documents. Depending on the JHA, this can range anywhere from days to months. 

Scope of Work/Description of Work: The scope of work briefly describes the work to be completed on a project. When drafting your scope of work, be concise and complete. It helps plan check reviewers (and permit expeditors) understand which disciplines will be needed to submit drawings for approval.

Valuation: Valuation is also an important detail to include in your permit application. It is the estimated construction cost and is often one of the items jurisdictions use to determine your plan check and permit issuance fees. 

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