Working with an Architect for Permitting

When starting a new project, you need to be issued an occupancy permit.  Getting an occupancy permit is easier said than done. You start by finding a location or space that fits your desired function, whether it is a restaurant, office, or warehouse.  Ideally, with the help of your realtor, you locate the perfect space.

Many realtors don’t understand what steps are needed for a build-out or construction site.  Their purpose in the process is to find the space or property that fits your described function.  Realtors are most likely to misunderstand the process with a tenant build out rather than new construction.

So… you have located the space, negotiated a lease and are ready to move in.  Most tenants we work with call us once they go to the county and discover they need a wide range of information before they can even apply for an occupancy permit.  They may need a simple layout performed by an architect. They may need information like the occupancy load calculation or whether there are enough toilets for the new use. Additionally, interior renovation requires various permits.  Most people know with construction, some permitting is required, but they are not aware of the level of detail required.

The simplest tenant layout performed is called a Joint Occupancy Evaluation, where the previous use of the space is not changed when the new tenant takes the space.  Then there are various levels of renovation, but even moving a wall, door, lights, etc. require a permit.  You can’t just do it…

Few business owners know that contractors want and need to see an architect’s drawings in order to provide construction estimates.  The process is pretty standard in our industry. We would discuss the project with you and what your needs are.  We would work up our proposal and then you would hopefully hire us. Then we would start the process of design.  This all happens before we can apply for any building permits.

During this phase, we have to analyze the space for code compliance.  Things we may look at include parking tabulations base on new use or zoning regulations in an instance where a second floor is needed but may not be allowed.  We would work with you in pointing out the discrepancies and do our best to manage your expectations with regards to timing, budget, working with contractors, and helping the construction process run smoothly.

Some clients are savvy enough to only need us for the permitting phase, but others hire us to run the construction phase of the project.

In the best case situation, a client would perform a due diligence period working with an architect, visit the site and discuss potential difficulties before the lease is signed.

We are available for any phase of the process necessary to ensure the client is comfortable, and we will also help you know when and how to engage our services.