Virtually every commercial remodel or new facility construction requires permits these days. Many will require both a site and building permit. Permitting can be a very frustrating experience and is best left to someone with plenty of past experience. Some of the pitfalls you’ll need to navigate include:
ADA Compliance – The Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law in 1990, has been an ever changing list of special requirements in facility construction. These requirements can touch virtually every portion of the site and building. To make meeting these mandates even more challenging different states and individual cities adopt various years’ versions of these ever changing requirements. Beyond the initial permitting approvals, owners can also be held liable for violations with penalties that could involve financial costs. Be certain your commercial architectural firm has a strong understanding of these requirements and how they can affect design and construction.
Health Department Approval – Foodservice facilities will require health department review and approval. The location of equipment and items like hand sinks can have a big impact on space requirements. It is better to research these constraints before you submit to save design time and final approvals.
Structural – Many jurisdictions have very specific structural design criteria. From roof loads to wind loads these design load requirements can have a big impact on the design and architecture of a building. Many coastal cities and towns, as well as many sites in Florida have wind design loads so high that special high wind load glass must be used. Being aware of these from the beginning is critical to keeping costs in line and schedules on time.
Energy Compliance – State and federal requirements for energy compliance vary extensively. Many states have specific computer programs you must run your building design through to verify wall, foundation, and roof insulation values. Even the amount of lighting you can include in your design is mandated by federal requirements.
Architectural Review – This requirement can really catch you off guard. Many areas have specific architectural design requirements your building must meet. These can control what materials can be used, what colors, and even how much glass you can use. We have even seen jurisdictions that set minimums on how much glass is required. A word of caution, many times these architectural requirements may not be easily known or posted. Be certain your design professional performs the specific due diligence to research these mandates so they are incorporated into the design from the beginning.
Inspections – This new requirement may have more impact on your project than any other. In many states, local jurisdictions are now requiring periodic site visits by a design professional while the project is under construction. These visits can range from a few during construction to regularly scheduled, and in some extreme situations include a detailed review for specific trades including architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. This requirement can quickly drive up the fees on your project and take a great deal of planning which may affect your construction schedule. For instance, electrical requires review of all wiring placement prior to wall cover up. Special inspections requirements can vary a great deal in various cities and research must be done before construction is scheduled to begin. Do not be an owner who has a completed building and now has to try and find a design professional who can certify in writing that the building is constructed per the drawings and that they witnessed construction throughout the project.
MRP Design Group, now in our 25th year of business, has permitted over 2,000 projects across the U.S. Our professionals can do the required research to head off issues and make certain your project moves through permitting as quickly as possible. Please contact us so we can discuss your specific needs and how we can help navigate your project through the permitting process.