Expect Delays When Planning a Project that Requires a Building Permit During the Pandemic

When planning a project that requires your contractor to obtain a building permit, it takes time to get through the process even during “normal” times. During the COVID 19 pandemic, be prepared for the process to take longer than it typically does. Being fluid with your timeline will make waiting for the building department less stressful for both you and your contractor.

Submitting for Permit: Before your contractor can submit for a permit, he must put together a packet of required documents which vary from city to city. The most common include a completed application, a set of building plans, a plat of survey, and a Homeowners Association approval letter, if applicable. The plat of survey and HOA approval are provided to the contractor by the homeowner. Be sure to have these documents ready when the contractor needs them. Check with your HOA to see if they need anything from the contractor in order to secure the approval. Every HOA is different and some will just require a rendering of your proposed project and others will require a Certificate of Insurance or other documentation. Your contractor should help you get the items needed for your HOA. Once the contractor has everything required by your local building department, then he can submit for your permit. Time waiting for a permit to process also varies from city to city. While some building departments can turn around a permit application in a matter of days, others will take 2 weeks or more. COVID 19 complicates this process even further. Some cities are requiring documents to be submitted online instead of at the city hall, others prefer to have the packets mailed or left in a drop box.

Permit Processing / Payment: Typically, the application packet is dropped off at the building department and often can be paid for on the spot to keep the process moving expeditiously. With COVID 19, some building departments are now accepting payment over the phone or internet, while others are requiring a check be mailed or left in a drop box once the permit is approved. City employees working from home, instead of at the hall, require additional time to process the application and then even further time to process the payment. In some villages, payment is made to the city finance department and then confirmation is provided to the building department. This is a simple process when the departments are working together in the same building, but when working with telecommuting departments, the process can be lengthened.

Inspections: Depending on the project, certain inspections will be required by the city or village to ensure that local building codes are met. Under normal circumstances, inspections are performed in person by a city or village official. Now, in some cities and villages, inspectors are completing virtual inspections via phone apps such as “Facetime”, if it is feasible to complete an inspection in this manner. A deck construction project requires inspections for the post or pier holes to ensure that they are the proper width and depth. Then another inspection must be scheduled to ensure the rough framing meets code requirements. A final inspection is performed to ensure the project is completed and handrails are installed correctly and meet code requirements. Prior to COVID19, an inspection could be scheduled as early as the next day in some villages, but currently there may be a longer wait time to get an inspector to look at your project. Your contractor can attempt to schedule the inspections ahead of time in anticipation of having the project ready, but weather or other setbacks can cause the inspection to be rescheduled or otherwise delayed.

Keeping these processes and their potential delays in mind will help alleviate possible frustrations due to construction projects taking longer than normal during the pandemic. Keep open communication with your contractor to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding timelines and expectations., it takes time to get through the process even during “normal” times. During the COVID 19 pandemic, be prepared for the process to take longer than it typically does. Being fluid with your timeline will make waiting for the building department less stressful for both you and your contractor.

Submitting for Permit: Before your contractor can submit for a permit, he must put together a packet of required documents which vary from city to city. The most

common include a completed application, a set of building plans, a plat of survey, and a Homeowners Association approval letter, if applicable. The plat of survey and HOA approval are provided to the contractor by the homeowner. Be sure to have these documents ready when the contractor needs them. Check with your HOA to see if they need anything from the contractor in order to secure the approval. Every HOA is different and some will just require a rendering of your proposed project and others will require a Certificate of Insurance or other documentation. Your contractor should help you get the items needed for your HOA. Once the contractor has everything required by your local building department, then he can submit for your permit. Time waiting for a permit to process also varies from city to city. While some building departments can turn around a permit application in a matter of days, others will take 2 weeks or more. COVID 19 complicates this process even further. Some cities are requiring documents to be submitted online instead of at the city hall, others prefer to have the packets mailed or left in a drop box.

Permit Processing / Payment: Typically, the application packet is dropped off at the building department and often can be paid for on the spot to keep the process moving expeditiously. With COVID 19, some building departments are now accepting payment over the phone or internet, while others are requiring a check be mailed or left in a drop box once the permit is approved. City employees working from home, instead of at the hall, require additional time to process the application and then even further time to process the payment. In some villages, payment is made to the city finance department and then confirmation is provided to the building department. This is a simple process when the departments are working together in the same building, but when working with telecommuting departments, the process can be lengthened.

Inspections: Depending on the project, certain inspections will be required by the city or village to ensure that local building codes are met. Under normal circumstances, inspections are performed in person by a city or village official. Now, in some cities and villages, inspectors are completing virtual inspections via phone apps such as “Facetime”, if it is feasible to complete an inspection in this manner. A deck construction project requires inspections for the post or pier holes to ensure that they are the proper width and depth. Then another inspection must be scheduled to ensure the rough framing meets code requirements. A final inspection is performed to ensure the project is completed and handrails are installed correctly and meet code requirements. Prior to COVID19, an inspection could be scheduled as early as the next day in some villages, but currently there may be a longer wait time to get an inspector to look at your project. Your contractor can attempt to schedule the inspections ahead of time in anticipation of having the project ready, but weather or other setbacks can cause the inspection to be rescheduled or otherwise delayed.

Keeping these processes and their potential delays in mind will help alleviate possible frustrations due to construction projects taking longer than normal during the pandemic. Keep open communication with your contractor to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding timelines and expectations.

Extend your living space into the outdoors! Get started today and give your family a space they'll love! Call DDT Home Transformations at 630-200-3945 or visit our website: www.ddthometransformations.com/contact to schedule your estimate!

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