If you ever needed an excuse to hire a construction project manager, permits and planning approvals would be it. Without them, the project can go nowhere. Our goal today is to provide a basic understanding of the process and why it is so important to have an experienced professional handling this aspect of your residential construction project.
What Are Permits?
This is the authorization to build based on adherence to local building codes. When applying for the permit, your blueprints will have to be submitted to ensure the particular aspect of the job to which the permit applies are adhering to code.
What Are Planning Approvals?
Planning approvals focus more on zoning and land use standards, such as trying to build an office space in a zoned residential area. Or, for those who live in local housing developments, you know you have to get co-op approval for changes to the home, such as specific landscaping or a pool. In most residential areas, approval for home could be limited to height, distance from the curb, preserving historical or ecological areas, etc.
Common Setbacks for Residential Construction Projects
As mentioned above, even the smallest detail about the location of the home could impact whether it is approved or not. Here are a few of the most common setbacks we see in this industry:
- Distancing between the property line and the exterior of the property
- Maximum height for home
- Building design
- Landscaping design
- Land use
Getting Approval for Home Construction
If you are purchasing a home in a development, chances are the contractor has already secured the needed approvals, but it does not hurt to ask. However, if you are building a home on your own, these approvals will have to be obtained before construction begins.
In most cases, there is a pre-application meeting where the planning officials for the local jurisdiction will assess the project and note all committees you must submit to to get approval for the project to move forward. From this point, you submit your application and the plans go through the various committees for review. If a committee rejects your application, you will be informed of what changes need to be made to move forward. This is rinse, wash, and repeat and until all approvals have been secured.
Once approvals are obtained, you are halfway home. Now you will need to get various permits for the project to continue. Some of the permits you will have to secure are:
- Elevators (if you plan on having one in your home)
- Fire sprinklers
Also, depending on your state, you may need to adhere to new green building codes.
When you have your list of permits to secure, a plan must be put together to submit for approval. This will include the following:
- Site plan
- Grading plan
- Floor plan
- MEP plans
- Compliance forms
- Additional permitting activity
- All required approvals
Generally, once the plans are submitted, there will be several rounds of back and forth before the final permits are issued.
As you can see, these waters can get quite muddied, so we recommend using a residential construction project manager to take care of all these tasks for you. If you are interested in learning more about our construction management services, please click here.