Locating codes for your projects is never as straight-forward as it sounds. And to top it all off, this stage can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get approval and move forward with your next steps.
The zoning, inspection and environmental services department of San Diego's government need to review your zoning and building code submissions to evaluate compliance with building codes before you get the permit – and this can take time depending on the scope of your project, along with other factors outside of your control.
Your client is at the center of everything you do – the inspiration behind your designs, the deciding factor of which permits you need to find, and the driver of your construction work – so how do you keep them as updated as possible with news on their project’s timeline and regulatory approvals?
To understand the processes and requirements to become approved through zoning municipalities and building code requirements, it’s important to know who controls these steps and why it’s an important part of the building process.
Zoning, the first required approval for your land development process, is a regulation of how a given section of land can be used and what types of businesses can use the land. This is a law determined by local municipalities to protect public health, safety and welfare. If your property address in a certain township zoned for residential property, then your plans to build an organic smoothie bar will be rejected.
Building code regulations, on the other hand, manage the details of the structures being built themselves and monitor building features the structure and composition are safe and accessible for all of its future visitors.
Depending on if your property is zoned for residential or commercial use, the IRC/ICC set standardized building codes across the nation. These can be tricky to nail down because your local government determines which version of the IRC/ICC they want to adopt. If the IRC has codes from 2003, 2009, 2015 and 2018, make sure you know which version is actively adopted and enforcing your building designs where your property is located.
When talking to your clients about why and what’s making the research process difficult, it’s a good idea to explain things in chronological order and emphasizing that there are forces outside of your control during the zoning and building code process – obtaining approval for construction relies heavily upon others in local government offices and partners in the project.
When you explain the process of finding and obtaining permits for your plans, break it down into these three steps:
Best practices for anticipating and mitigating problems with your clients during this process can be minimized with the following tips:
Even if we finish our research and make sure codes are compliant in three days, it could take weeks for the approval and “go-ahead.” It often comes down to time management and other obligations of the decision-makers on the other end of this process.
Sometimes, even with your best efforts of researching, code requirements can slip through the cracks and your blueprints don’t fully encompass the area’s adopted code requirements.
When this happens, reassure your clients that this happens all of the time, and you’re working right now to fix it with the feedback from the municipality office or IRC/ICC. While this could add delays and set back project timelines, turn away clients and harm your reputation, the most important part of your relationship with the client is transparency and trust.
This is why it’s important to fully conduct all research in a safe, timely manner and know that everything you’re working on is 100% up-to-date and compliant with all codes and zoning regulations within an area. PermitDocs allows you to find and integrate all codes relevant to your area of work to be fully accounted for, so there are no project delays or setbacks. And most importantly, no difficult conversations with clients about project setbacks.
Every dream ever build started with research. With PermitDocs, you can discover the smartest and fastest ways to find the property information and zoning codes you need as you grow and tackle new projects.
You won’t just reduce loss of physical resources or churn — you’ll increase ROI, client satisfaction, and team morale. Cut your research times by 50% and reduce project times by days or weeks. Get the most up-to-date information every day of the year, so you can find reliable information in seconds and keep on moving.