Successful permit-applying strategies

Successful permit-applying strategies

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Successful permit-applying strategies

Projects vary in size and scope. No matter your role in the design and construction process, permits can be a stressful part of the operation. I’ve had years of experience pulling together permits of all kinds. I also have a passion for efficiency that has boded me well, and, in turn, has helped me to acquire knowledge and experience as it relates to the acquisitions of said permits. I sincerely hope that your permit process will go smoother, after having heard some of my hard-learned lessons.

Do Your Research

This may seem obvious, but I’ve learned how important it is to do my research before I go through the process of permit drawings and submissions. It’s paid off every single time, especially if I’m submitting for someone else’s design.

I always ask the following three questions:

  1. Are there any previous permits for this property?
  2. Are there existing drawings available?
  3. What are the permit requirements for this specific project’s scope of work?

By doing so, it saves on unnecessary work, and also gives you a heads up on what you might be missing when you do apply.

Be Clear and Concise

Only submit permit drawings of the plans that the examiner needs to see in order to pass your project. If it’s not necessary, there’s no need to show them millwork elevations or drawings of the finishes.

It’s very tempting to put all of the information on one drawing, and let them sort it out. Trust me, everything is easier when you keep your drawings and designs easy enough for all to follow. Don’t make the plan’s examiner hunt for information.

Submit in Person

Some municipalities, including Toronto, will accept submissions by email, which is far more convenient. However, you want a relationship with the people who you’re submitting to. Developing a rapport with the employees at the desk is paramount. If you submit by email, your submission either gets rejected (just one of many in a queue), or you’ll get a refusal letter if something is missing. Stuff happens. If you submit in person, you get direct feedback as to what you may have forgot. And, by doing so, you may even have time to go back and make the changes, and re-submit the same day.

Hire a Professional

When in doubt, hire a professional, especially if you’re stressed out and overwhelmed. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so it’s often worth your time, and budget, to hire a professional – someone who’s specialized in keeping everything on track, so that all goes smoothly.

I may be somewhat biased, but for residential projects, hiring a registered interior designer can be a beneficial asset. If you’re the client, or on the construction side, find someone who’s aware of the building code and zoning when they’re preparing the designs. This will help to avoid potential headaches.

Other types of design professionals, who understand your vision, can be of assistance when defending your project to those who are in charge of permits. If they get it, they can help you to accomplish it.

MELISSA TOSSELL, NCIDQ, BCIN, ARIDO is the owner and registered interior designer for Sanura Design and co-chair of the Residential Committee of ARIDO.

Article provided courtesy of ARIDO.


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