I woke up at 7:11am. I went downtown and had breakfast at the top of the Columbia Tower. I did some land use code research, so I could fill out some forms and do a couple simple drawings to help a client get a permit. I completed them and emailed the drawing files to the printing company at the ground floor of the Columbia Tower. On my way out of the building, I picked up the drawings. I walked across the street to the building department while answering an email from my client on my phone. He was nervous about the documentation needed to get a permit for his project. He and 4 of his coworkers had tried to do the permitting process themselves, but they got slightly overwhelmed since they were confused and had filled out a bunch of forms and began gathering information for drawings they did not need. My email to my client said, "Sit back. Relax. I'll take care of it. Your problems are now mine." I walked into the building department, submitted the drawings and forms, paid for the permit, and walked out with the two permits my client needed. It's now 10:33am, and I'm writing this post.
Although the permitting process can seem stressful, it doesn't need to be. I take it on, and my expertise makes it easy - even when the building department attempts to create unnecessary roadblocks. I have the knowledge to circumvent most of these issues. It is not worthwhile for a client to struggle with this process. Often times, a client begins the permitting process and unknowingly submits incorrect information to the building department, which is subject to public disclosure, and convolutes the process making it more difficult for me to overturn. It is certainly advisable to allow the professional to take care of this process.
Permitting is only a very small portion of the construction and design process. As an architect, I have the expertise to make all steps of the process easy for my clients. This saves money. This saves time. Other parts of the process include feasibility studies, designing several creative options, creating detailed drawings for a contractor to build from, create very basic plans for a building department to review, coordinate bids from multiple contractors for competitive pricing, interpret complicated building code and land use code provisions, visit the jobsite to review the work and offer guidance to keep the project on time and on budget, and even fight the building department to help clients get what they need. All of these things are tricky or even impossible to take on without a lot of experience, education, licensing, insurance, and the guts to stand up on your clients' behalf to make their problems your own.