Q: How do you navigate through the Permitting and Inspection Process?

A: There is absolutely no doubt that this is an ever increasing challenge. Let’s discuss permitting first.

Obtaining building permits to build new home construction is incredibly complex, expensive and at times very frustrating.

Municipalities will have check lists of what they require for a permit submittal. Your building plans can require structural engineering, truss engineering, well and septic approval from the health department, heating and cooling calculations, plumbing information. Other harder information can be required as well. A tree plan, grading calculations and a storm water plan are good examples. We must rely on our professionals to do a good job in preparing this information. It can take 4 to 8 weeks to assimilate all this data.

The complexity arises in how the municipalities review the information. All municipalities are different. There is a human element involved with every aspect of how the information is derived and reviewed by the municipality plan reviewers. Subjectivity by the individual plans examiner or one of their specialists can make life most interesting. The key to a successful plan review is to have all the information they require in a format that is easy for them to understand. Any type of ambiguity can slow you down. The old adage “measure twice, cut once” applies. We must really have a high focus of accurate detail to ‘make sure’ our plans package is proper. Your wings will get clipped if you try to wing it.

Once plans are approved the Inspection Process insures that the new home or custom home is built within accordance to the plan approval. There was a time that you could make field adjustments without amending the plan. Those days are gone. Any time a change is made we must amend the plans and get them approved by the municipality.

Next week I will discuss the inspection process.

Thank you for reading Ask The Builder and making The Columbian of Vancouver, WA a part of your day.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com. Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am and 860 am Saturdays at 1 pm.