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Bad plans, no plans = expect delays

Our office is seeing a significant spike in building permit applications at this time. While we are still trying to keep to a two-week timeline from application to issuance of a permit, a staggering number of permit applications are suffering needless delays because applicants are not providing enough information for our staff to conduct reviews.

In order for us to process an application, our administrative staff will require

  • Septic approval or re-approval documents for new home/business construction, or bedroom additions
  • Wetlands approval for properties near a designated watercourse or wetland
  • An accurate site map showing distances from the proposed building to all adjacent properties and buildings
  • Setback certificate for new builds that require driveways
  • Civic number for new builds on newly created/yet developed lots.

Our building inspectors are also seeing a disturbing number of applications with incomplete building plans. As stated, we require a scale drawing of the proposed construction, showing how all walls, floors and roofing systems will be constructed. This includes a detail on where required earthquake bracing panels will be located. If you have hired a professional designer, it is up to that designer to know the Code and prepare Code-compliant plans, including required earthquake bracing: our inspectors are not allowed to provide design guidance by law. 

At this moment, there are 12 applications awaiting review by a building inspector, and of those 10 are on hold because the plans did not have sufficient detail. Some of the issues that can cause a plan to stall:

  • Plans that do not show a required footing. Remember: an engineered design is required for almost all load-bearing slab-on-grade construction, contrary to popular myth.
  • Plans that do not show scale.
  • Plans that do not show required earthquake bracing.
  • Plans that are simply, clearly, and obviously not Code-compliant (such as an attached deck supported on deck blocks, using 4x4 posts as supports).
  • Sketches of a building with no detail on how walls, foundations, roofing or any other elements will be constructed.

Help us process your application quickly by making sure all the information is included. If in doubt, call an inspector before you file your application - it may save you lost time down the road.