Permitting Coordination

Today in From Planning to Execution is Permitting & Zoning Coordination – Planning & Strategy. To read the rest of the articles in this series, click here

So… What Is It?

The vast majority of projects that Owners Representatives manage require Permitting and Approvals. The Permitting process necessitates that all permit requirements, as mandated by the governing municipality, are adhered to during the life of the project.

Zoning is a lengthy process which requires an in-depth understanding of the municipality, specific procedures, as well as the appropriate parties that need to be involved. The Zoning process includes public hearings that Owners Reps may need to attend with the client, their engineers, and legal counsel.

In this article, we’ll be focusing on the Permitting portion of this process.

Why Owners Reps are the Experts

Owners Reps are able to advocate for owners in the Permitting process from an informed perspective that an owner may not have. We do this by implementing our understanding of the process and requirements, one that includes engaging an expeditor at the appropriate time. This is particularly important for projects with a tight schedule.

Is Permitting Really Necessary?

Short answer: absolutely.

Permitting is integral to the project. Without it, the project can’t move forward. Inspections can’t be conducted, and – in turn – Certificates of Occupancy can’t be granted.

Quick Facts

  • Some owners feel like Permitting is just a “money grab” by the municipality and do not realize that plan reviewers and inspectors serve as an important function in safety and code compliance.
  • Some municipalities do Permitting in-house; others don’t.
  • Timing is one of the biggest issues and most commonly misunderstood factors in the Permitting process. Without proper time allotment for specific activities, the schedule can be put in jeopardy before the work even begins.
  • Even when plans are approved “as is”, that does not prevent inspectors or other officials from mandating changes. For example, additional exit signs may be needed.
  • Engaging a contractor who has a good relationship with the municipality is critical.

Types of Real Estate

Though Permitting is required for most projects, there are a few exceptions. Cosmetic work, like painting, hardware upgrades, and new carpeting can be done without any formal review. Permitting comes into play when a project calls for structural changes, egress modification, or change of use.

The prevalence of projects that require permitting varies by company, but at NorthStar, most of the work we do is permittable.

Permitting Coordination Cheat Sheet

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Permitting Coordination Done Right

(click the image below for project details)

Chester Charter School for the Arts

Mastery Charter Schools

Willis Towers Watson


Anne McFadden, PMP

Anne McFadden, PMP