Obtaining Government Signoffs for Various Permits

Times have changed. In most cases you can no longer just go to the city and get all of your government sign off needs in one shot. No more napkin plans as in the old days. The building plan check itself is not the time consuming issue. If you do a good job preparing your plans, obtaining the sign offs needed should be completed with one set of corrections and then approved. However, this is not necessarily true. It depends on the plan checkers. One department can make you change the drawings that then need to be rechecked by another plan checker; i.e. planning, cultural affairs, accessibility, green/sustainability issues, fire, and building departments. Different departments might be in entirely different locations and time schedules

Each city has its own system. When you submit your plans for approval you must wait until the first round of building plan checks is completed. Once the first round is finished this is when you receive the clearance sheet listing the required government sign offs needed for the project. You can now start the process for getting these required sign offs. There are a few exceptions like getting an expedited plan check or a counter check on smaller projects. But this does not always save time or money due to other sign offs that maybe necessary.

By planning ahead you can always get some preliminary reviews and issues dealt with. Here are a few of the possible signs off or activities that might be required:

· Planning and Zoning issues: Topography and boundary surveys: radius maps and related information; Slope density calculation for buildable areas and floor area ratios; historic issues of all types; preparation and expediting for neighborhood or special Government authority approvals i.e., city or regional planning issues, project permits, plot plan reviews, Conditional Use Permit (C.U.P.), Administration Adjustments, hearings, variances, code modification requests; tract mapping;building signs

· Grading issues: soils and geology conditions; Civil (grading, drainage plans, or haul routes)

· Building department Issues: verifying information (permit) on file at City; fire department for access and life safety; preliminary energy modeling calculations and analysis; energy modeling; Title 24 energy calculations; LEED design services; document recording.

· Miscellaneous issues: Hazardous materials (Phase 1 and/or 2) toxic analysis and remediation; Utility Company coordination (including water pressure issues); DSA; OSHPOD; landlord or HOA association coordination and approvals; off-site conditions including but not limited to public works and engineering department requirements; health Department; Caltrans; Landscape Architecture(design including: hardscape, softscape and irrigation design); arborist/ tree reports; Acoustical Consultant

These sign offs or design issues can take multiple meetings with the governing agencies (all around their individual time schedules) to be resolved. You cannot get final approvals without getting all the required sign offs. Work with your architect to designate the entity in charge of obtaining these, as some of them require fees to be paid. The longer the project is in plan check the later a projects groundbreaking is; which will ultimately affect your bottom line.

At JHAI we do track these issues and assist you by doing these activities with great results.