Should I Use a Local Architect to Manage My Permits?

Should architects manage permits

Architects are a critical role to any commercial construction project. They are experts in local building codes and design, and are essential in the permit approval process.

But should a local architect manage your project’s building permits application?

They can, but we believe there is a better option. The odds of a commercial construction project avoiding extra expenses and opening its doors on time increase when a permit expediting firm is entrusted to manage the application process. Here are three reasons why.


1. Area of Expertise

Unquestionably, architects are masters of their trade. Building design and plan development require a highly specialized skillset with deep knowledge of building codes, construction standards, and project goals.

Local jurisdiction plan submittal requirements and relationship building are not critical to an architect’s core focus or responsibilities.

While an architect may build permitting into their service quote, few invest the time needed to understand a local jurisdiction’s permitting process or nurture the relationships that can help expedite approvals.

Conversely, this is exactly what permit expeditors do. In addition to a deep knowledge of local building codes and zoning requirements, expeditors regularly work with jurisdictions. As a result, they understand the nuances of what they jurisdiction is looking for and common questions or comments they have. This knowledge enables expeditors to proactively address these common hurdles before they cause any delays.


2. Each Misstep Adds Weeks

Permits applications get rejected for many reasons, including:

  • Incomplete submittal packages.
  • Unclear documentation.
  • Requests for additional details.

Unfortunately, every time an application is sent back with comments or corrections, it can push permit approvals back weeks.

Permit Review Process

The Plan Submittal > Comments & Correction cycle usually involves the following steps:

  1. Jurisdiction sends comments back to the applicant.
  2. Applicant coordinates corrections with the design team and other stakeholders.
  3. Application documents are updated and resubmitted to the jurisdiction.
  4. Projects wait for plan reviewer availability.
  5. Plan reviewer approves or sends back additional comments.
  6. And so on.

Each cycle can add weeks to a project’s approval date. And, for short-staffed jurisdictions, weeks can turn into months. 

It’s a permit expediter’s job to know the application process and jurisdictions so well they can proactively address the issues that commonly hold up projects, side-stepping costly delays.


3. Architects Do It

Architects understand the need to get permits approved efficiently and that delays can end up cost their clients.

For this reason, many architects contract directly with permit expeditors and delegate building permit management to them rather than keep it in-house. In fact, Permit Place good percentage of our client base are architects.

A project owner may or may not be aware of the permit expeditor’s involvement, but they will benefit from their services. The expeditor’s deep understanding of the following can help get permit approvals faster and avoid the permitting black hole of confusion:

  • Local building and zoning codes.
  • Jurisdiction review process.
  • Process for getting status updates and questions answered.
  • Details asked for with similar projects.


Should you use a permit expeditor?

It may seem counter intuitive to bring a permit expeditor into a project that your architect says they can handle. But, every day you’re not open, you’re losing revenue. Permit approvals keep construction projects on schedule. Permit expeditors sole responsibility is getting permits approved on time, and we have the processes and relationships to do that better than any members of your project team.

If you’re interested in discussing how a permit expeditor can help out with your next project, schedule a time to talk.

Schedule Time to Talk