What Are Building Permits?
Most residential construction projects in North America require building permits before construction begins. Permitting is essentially a final review of your house plans and they are required before you can begin construction and book trades. Building permits verify that your project complies with local building codes, laws and bylaws. They also ensure the home or garage structure will be safe and viable on your property. Building permits help to ensure a baseline standard of safety. In most cases, you cannot build without a permit, and in cases where building without a permit is acceptable, there is increased risk and potential liabilities involved for the homeowner.
The Building Permit Process
The permitting stage of the home building process is notorious for delays, but this is not necessarily the norm. There are many factors that contribute to the time it takes for permit approval, and certain Provinces and States have different assessment standards. This means that permitting may take only a few weeks in one state, but several months to a year in another. Clients are often unsure what to expect when it comes to the permitting timeline and the best way to make permits a smooth process is to prepare for them ahead of time.
Building permits must be submitted to the housing department of your specific city. They can be submitted online in many regions but paper and mail-in submissions are also acceptable. Each city within each province and state will have a different permitting acceptance process but in general, when you submit your plans, they are reviewed by staff and often, a local engineer.
At Linwood, we provide you with final, permit-ready home plans which are first reviewed by our in-house structural engineer to accelerate the acceptance process. Sometimes further local engineering is required in specific counties. Once you submit those building plans and provide all necessary additional documents, your city will give you an estimated timeline for review. The timeline may be displayed clearly on their website as well. Once permits are approved, you can begin your project.
Why Do Building Permit Times Vary?
Different cities have different building requirements, bylaws and standards. Permitting time can vary but it’s best to expect at least 2 months for the review. Timing varies so much on location as some areas are more susceptible to risk, for example, permit times in California are notoriously long. This is partly because there are many additional safety precautions needed for homes due to the possibility of natural disasters like fires and earthquakes in the area.
Each city has its own process and protocol and it is difficult to give general estimates when each project and property is different. Ultimately, permitting is for the safety and security of the homeowner, and Linwood provides complete permit-ready plans to help make this process as fast and streamlined as possible. Even in the difficult areas, our plans will always meet permitting.
Benefits of Being Ready for Building Permits Early
Here are the 5 key factors that can affect permit timing. In order to obtain building permits and make the process as stress-free and fast as possible, consider these 5 factors and get your applications in early.
1. Builders are Busy and Booking Up Quickly.
We highly recommend that our customers apply for permits as soon as possible. Skilled construction-related resources such as builders and tradespeople book up quickly. This means delays in getting projects started and higher labour costs unless you are ready to move quickly.
2. Complex Permitting Requirements
Regulations concerning construction have become increasingly more complex in many areas. Local engineering is now frequently required by planning departments, not only for structural purposes but to avoid liability. At Linwood Homes, we have our in-house engineers review all permit-ready plans, but in some regions, a local engineer must review the plans before approval.
3. Be in Control of Your Timeline
Many jurisdictions are taking several months to process permits and some are taking over a year. For project planning purposes, it is a good idea to work backwards from the date you want to be in the home. You can then factor in the time-lines of the various steps involved, including getting permits. Remember that building the structure of the home is often the activity that takes the least amount of time. It is the preparation and foresight that can be lengthy but certainly pays off. You can speed up or slow down depending on when you want to take occupancy of the home.
Key Beneﬁt Summary and Permit Tips:
- You can only get meaningful quotes using ﬁnalized building plans
- Once you have permits you can build any time you choose
- It will be easier to secure a builder if you can give them a deﬁnite start date
- You will be able to negotiate a better price if you can choose when to start
- Delays in a rising market will cost you more
- Technical skills to produce construction drawings are in increasingly short supply
- Engineering resources are hard to ﬁnd and the process takes time
- Getting permits at slower times of the year will be easier
Book Your Design Consultation
At Linwood, our whole system has been developed to allow you to build faster and more efﬁciently. Good builders value our ability to get products to them when they need them during the building process. Using our high-quality materials allows them to build quickly. This means you get the beneﬁt of a lower construction price and a better-ﬁnished result. Linwood is a full service value-added supplier of design and materials backed up by technical experts. This means our construction drawings help you get permit ready faster than any other available alternative.