Developing a building of any shape or size takes an ample amount of planning if you want each stage of development to be completed without issue. Among the most important aspects of constructing a building is to first obtain the necessary building permits that give you the ability to do so. Without building permits, any work that you do could be illegal, which means that your work would likely need to be reversed. You may also be asked to pay a large sum of money to cover any fines that the local building authority assesses.
If it’s time for you to apply for a building permit, you will need to do so through the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. While applying for a building permit is relatively straightforward, the approval process can take a lengthy period of time depending on the type and size of the building you’re constructing. You will be tasked with providing the LADBS with extensive documentation alongside your application. If any of this documentation is incomplete or inaccurate, the approval process could be delayed.
There’s also a chance that your building plans don’t adhere to local building codes, which means that you would need to go back and make revisions before your permit is officially approved. Any delays to the approval process will result in the entire project being delayed, which could cost you a sizable amount of money. You can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to have your building permit application approved by hiring a building permit expediter.
A permit expediter is a professional who has the experience and skills necessary to help expedite the permitting process. Along with making sure that any issues with the permit application are resolved quickly, a permit expediter can also help you gather the necessary documentation. A reputable permit expediter can spot any errors in your documentation before your application is submitted, which should reduce the possibility of lengthy delays.
Permit expediters can be highly beneficial if you’re working on a relatively tight project deadline. If the project is large, it can take several weeks for a building permit to be approved. A permit expediter can reduce this timeline considerably. If you want to be certain that you hire the right permit expediter, the following offers five tips and guidelines that should help you make the best hire.
5. Gather Your Project Details & Scope
Before you begin the search for the right permit expediter to hire for your project, you should first gather all of your project details. Getting all of these details into one spot should help you scope out the project for the expediters you consider hiring. These details should also give you the ability to obtain a more accurate cost estimate.
When you interview an expediter, they will be able to give you a better understanding of what to expect during the permit application process. However, the permit expediter can only provide you with a good idea of what to expect if they understand all that the project entails. With all of these details in hand, there will be fewer delays during the permit approval process, which means that you should save more money in the long run.
4. Talk to Local Realtors & Developers
If you want to make sure that you hire a permit expediter you can trust, talk to some local realtors and developers you know. These are people who have likely worked with permit expediters in the past, which gives you the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge about the top permit expediters in the industry. Speaking with these professionals should also help you set expectations of what it’s like to work with a permit expediter.
The realtors and developers you speak with may know when permits are needed and how long these permit take to be approved. All of this information is useful during your search for the best permit expediter. Along with helping you know which permit expediters are legitimate, the local realtors and developers you talk to might also point out which permit expediters you should stay away from. This advice may prove to be invaluable while you look for a permit expediter to hire.
3. Chat with Your Neighbors and Others Who Have Recently Used an Expediter
If one of your neighbors or anyone you know in your local community has recently undergone a new construction or addition to their home, they may have experience with permit expediters. Whether this experience was good or bad, their knowledge can help you find expediters you can trust. Almost nothing is more beneficial during your search than speaking with people who have had experience working with permit expediters.
While online reviews can give you a good idea of what a expediter’s reputation is, these reviews aren’t always accurate and may even be fake. If you do search for reviews online, you can be confident in the information available through the Better Business Bureau website. When you speak with neighbors or anyone else in your community, make sure that you ask any questions that come to mind.
This is the perfect opportunity for you to find out what it’s like to work with an expediter. For instance, you might want to ask if the services the expediter provided facilitated a smoother and quicker approval process. Inquire about the customer service the expediter provides and if they are attentive to the client’s needs throughout the entire process. All of the information you gather at this time can be helpful if you end up interviewing the expediter that your neighbor or acquaintance recommended.
2. Network with Architectural & Engineering Firms
Before you hire a permit expediter, consider networking with architectural and engineering firms in your area. These firms have extensive contacts and experience working with expediters. Architectural and engineering firms are involved in designing buildings and all types of developments, which means that the projects they design will be placed into building plans that construction crews will reference to build the structure in question.
Throughout the early stages of development, it’s common for permit expediters to interface with any architects and engineers who are working on the project to make sure that the building plans meet local building codes and that any issues are corrected in short order. Building up a strong network of architectural and engineering firms allows you to gain in-depth knowledge from professionals who should know what to look for in a permit expediter.
If you’ve been considering hiring a permit expediter but find that a local architectural firm in your network doesn’t have a good opinion of the expediter, you can use this information to avoid making the wrong hire. Because of how important it is to hire the right expediter, doing your due diligence is essential.
1. Search for Local Expediting Firms with Experience & a Strong Reputation
While you should use all of the tips mentioned previously, likely the most important tip for hiring the right permit expediter is to limit your search to local expediting firms only. You need to hire permit expediters who have local experience and local contacts. It’s important to understand that building codes and regulations can change from county to county.
A permit expediter who’s knowledgeable about building regulations in Ventura County may not understand all of the regulations and codes in Los Angeles County. A local permit expediter will have the most in-depth insight when it comes to local requirements and regulations, which is necessary if you want to navigate the permit application process with relative ease. It’s also highly recommended that you choose an experienced permit expediter as opposed to one that’s just getting started in the industry.
The Bottom Line
Hiring a permit expediter will make it easier for you to get your building permit application approved by the LADBS. If ever any issues arise, the permit expediter you hire will know exactly what to do to get the issues resolved without any extended delays.
However, hiring the right permit expediter can be among the more difficult aspects of this process. If you’re developing a building in Los Angeles, you’ll discover that there are practically dozens of permit expediters to consider, some of which aren’t reputable. Identifying permit expediters that have great reputations and the skills you need while your building permit is being reviewed requires time and patience.
The tips mentioned previously should give you the tools you need to narrow your options and effectively weed out permit expediting companies that aren’t worth your time and money. If your neighbors or other developers you know have worked with permit expediters in the past, it might be best for you to listen to their advice and base your hiring decision off of their recommendations. If you can make the right hire, the remainder of the building permit process should fall into place. Contact Crest Real Estate today for all of your expediting and permitting needs.
Jason Somers, President & Founder of Crest Real Estate
With over 15 years of professional experience in the Los Angeles luxury real estate market, Jason Somers has the background, judgement and track record to provide an unparalleled level of real estate services. His widespread knowledge helps clients identify and acquire income producing properties and value-ad development opportunities.