Plan Check Success: How to Navigate the Permitting Maze

A plan check, also called a plan review, is the phase where the relevant jurisdiction (such as city officials or a public works department) reviews submitted permit applications and building plans before approval.

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A plan check, also called a plan review, is the phase where the relevant jurisdiction (such as city officials or a public works department) reviews submitted permit applications and building plans before approval.

The plan check phase works to ensure that approved plans for a new build adhere to local building codes and zoning laws and that proper permit issuance can be obtained. It ensures that building plans meet design and safety standards with no violation issues.

If you are navigating the permit process, having the proper drawings and application prepared for the plan check is key to getting your permit issued. Let's look at the steps, strategies, and best practices needed to pass a plan check and get your permit.

Benefits of a Thorough Plan Check and Permitting Process

When working on a new construction project, the plan check process holds many benefits. These include:

Ensuring Safety and Compliance

With a plan check process in place, projects are required to meet all building code requirements, zoning regulations, and safety standards which protects both your construction team and future building visitors.

Reduce Construction Delays and Costly Errors

A common cause of delay in any new construction is errors and inconsistencies found during review. This causes multiple review cycles which can lead to project delays. This can lead to time spent redoing work and more money spent fixing mistakes.

Minimize Legal Risks

A proper plan check can ensure you are complying with all legal requirements related to a build, reducing the risk of fines or legal action during inspection.

Promoting Sustainability and Environmental Compliance

Plan check processes also help building officials adhere to local environmental laws and sustainability standards. This way, green building practices can be prioritized in a building permit application.

Permitting Process

Now that we understand the benefits of a plan check, let's explore how it is involved in the permitting process.  

Integration of Permitting in Construction Projects

Before you can start any kind of construction project, you need to obtain your building permits. Think of building permits like the key that opens the door to a new build, giving you the permission to start. In order to get this permission, permit reviewers need to ensure your building meets quality and safety standards, local laws, and regulations, and that it has a solid building plan. 

In order to get these permits needed for a construction project, you’ll need to make sure you pass your plan check. With permits being essential to your build, this means you should be making the plan check a top priority in your project. 

Permitting Requirements

What kind of permits will a project need? There are many different kinds of permits you may need. The most common three are:

Construction Building Permits

A construction building permit is an official approval from a government agency that allows a contractor to go ahead with a proposed construction project. They work to ensure a building plan complies with local laws and safety standards.

Zoning Permits

A zoning permit is a document issued by a local authority that permits a piece of land to be used for its prescribed use.

Environmental Permits

An environmental permit is a document that outlines how a project can use the land while minimizing damaging environmental impact and complying with local laws and regulations.  

Permit Application Process

During the plan check application phase, a building planning division will begin the permit application process.

Depending on local authority needs, this can include gathering building plans, filling out permit applications, and submitting documents to local authorities for review and approval. Before any plans are finalized and documents are submitted, builders will ensure they are meeting all compliance standards and building code regulations.

Overview of the Permit & Plan Check Process

The typical timeline of this process can look like this:

Pre-Submittal Phase: Gathering all necessary documents required and preparing your plan check submission.

Submittal Phase: Formally submit building plans and permit applications to local permitting authorities.

Review Phase: Permitting authorities will review submitted documents, ensuring standards and regulations are met.

Corrections and Re-Submittal Phase: If applicable, applicants can make corrections required to address issues found in their original application.

Final Approval Phase: If submitted plans meet all requirements, permits are obtained and construction can begin.

Avoiding 3 Common Mistakes Found in Plan Reviews

There are a few common mistakes people encounter when building their plans. Here are our top tips for mistakes to avoid, and ways you can work to avoid them. 

  1. Avoid Inadequate Scope Definition: Focus on Details and Supporting Docs

You need to ensure you are clear and precise about project scope, with clearly defined project definitions and plans. To do this, make sure all necessary details and information for your project are included. This can include site plans, the structural, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing build aspects, landscaping, and accessibility features.

  1. Avoid Non-Compliance: Pay Attention to Code and Regulations 

It is essential to ensure a building plan and permit application meets all local regulations and laws.

Your plan check needs to be aligned with local laws, codes, and regulations that are applicable to your building project. Make sure you are consulting experts here like experienced project managers and engineers who are familiar with local laws and regulations to not make these mistakes. 

  1. Avoid Poorly Details Drawings: Focus on Clarity and Legibility 

Poorly detailed drawings can appear ambiguous, leading to questions or misinterpretations of a building plan. Ensure drawings are clear, detailed, and specific by making clarity and legibility a priority. Again, working with experienced architects and engineers can do wonders here to ensure you have proper drafts and drawings.  

Make Permitting a Breeze With GreenLite

As you can see, the plan process is essential for planning a build and obtaining the necessary permits, making it a top priority in any construction project. 

Plus, there are many benefits to focusing on the plan check as you move through your build! A thorough plan can make a big difference in a construction project in terms of meeting project deadlines. It can make for a more efficient process, avoiding costly mistakes and making sure a building plan runs smoothly. We highly encourage any business embarking on a new construction project to make focusing on their construction plan and the plan check a priority. 

At GreenLite, we want to provide businesses with the peace of mind they need when engaging in the permit process with new builds. We work to make permitting easy, with the ability to review your project to make sure you can pass a plan check the first time. We work with customers to issue permits directly, on behalf of the city. Get the expertise and transparency you need in obtaining your permits without the need for reviews and resubmissions due to missing info, helping your construction project get done faster.  If you want to learn more, connect with us today.


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