There are different philosophies when submitting a set of construction drawings to a jurisdiction for permit plan review. Common permit types are Building, Flood Plain, Occupancy, Sign, and Assembly. Our goal at AMB Architects is to make it through the permit plan review process with no comments. When there are no comments, the permit is issued immediately and construction can start. Other firms may submit plans without doing full code research and then wait to see what the jurisdiction “catches” in their comments. The plans then need to be revised to address the comments and be resubmitted for another plan review. This doubles the time before the permit is issued. Since the plans were not code compliant originally, this second round of review could have additional comments if the review finds more errors. Now the time has quadrupled before the permit is issued.
Why does it matter to receive no comments during the permit review?
- It saves time. Correct drawings that are approved in one review cycle mean the client can start construction sooner and move in sooner.
- No unexpected changes. If the drawings do not meet code, the design, layout, and/or specification may need to be changed to comply.
- No cost increase. When a project is not designed to meet code initially, the permit review comments could add construction cost to the project when the design and specifications change.
Below is a very short list of typical issues the permit office sees and resulting comments that will require a second review. All of these comments can cause changes to the design and drawings that will result in a cost increase.
- Life safety exit egress paths are not identified correctly.
- The diagonal distance between suites and exits is missing.
- Remote point distances are incorrect. It’s not as the crow flies. It’s how a person will walk through the space to get to the exits. This includes walking around furniture and equipment.
- Exiting through rooms that are not allowed, for example, break room, storage room, file room.
- Doors swinging into the exit corridors more than the allowable distance.
- Wrong door swing or door type base.
What does AMB do to ensure fewer/no comments?
- We listen and learn from previous projects/years. When we get comments, we make a note of the changes and update our template so it doesn’t happen again.
- We educate our internal team on what comment it was and make sure everyone is on the same page.
- More then one person reviews construction documents before submission.
- We ask the permitting agency questions when we are unsure of something. Every jurisdiction is slightly different in what they’re looking for. This knowledge helps reduce comments.
The permitting process can be confusing and stressful. AMB offers in-house permitting service as part of the project process and also as a stand-alone service. Of the past 20 projects we’ve submitting for permits, seven came back with no comments and nine came back with fewer than three comments. Contact us to discuss your needs.