• Category Archives General Discussion
  • PASS in action: Share your experiences

    From: Helmer, Mike
    Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2018 9:18 AM
    To: Mike Malinowski
    Subject: RE: PASS (Prequalified Architectural Submittal System) Project

    Hello Mike,

    Here’s the update I promised for this PASS project.

    The second review when very smooth and resulted with one remaining item requested by the City on March 8, 2018.  Evidently there was a little confusion with our suggested format for the Green Code Checklist.  Plan sheets that included the revised checklists were resubmitted to the City on March 14, 2018 and approved for issuance the same day.

    All in all, the project was submitted on January 17, 2018 and ready to issue on March 14, 2018.  That’s a total of 38 business days.  The plans were under City review for less than 14 of those days.

    I would say both parties performed well on this one.

    Thanks,

    Michael T. Helmer
    Senior Building Plans Examiner
    Development Services Department

    Building Division

    Working together to build a quality community.


    Civic Center | 311 Vernon Street | Roseville, CA | 95678

    From: Helmer, Mike
    Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2018 7:32 AM
    Subject: RE: PASS (Prequalified Architectural Submittal System) Project

     Mike,

    This project, like many Kaiser projects, was highly detailed.  The first review was started 3 business days after its submittal and took 6 business days to complete.  Remember, the City has combination plans examiners, who review each project for all disciplines.

    Our plans examiner reports that the design documents met the standards expected for a PASS project, which resulted in a marked reduction in the number of plan review comments likely for a project of this level.

    The design team is working on the issues and should resubmit soon.

    I’ll let you know how the recheck went, once complete.

    Thanks,

    Michael T. Helmer
    Senior Building Plans Examiner
    Development Services Department

    Building Division

    Working together to build a quality community.

    Civic Center | 311 Vernon Street | Roseville, CA | 95678


  • Best Practices

    Good question, Michael. I’ll be interested to learn the outcome, as permitting processes vary so widely across the country. Thomas’ recommendation is on target as a practice recommendation; it not only supports the permitting process but will be invaluable over the life of the building, for reference as codes change and buildings are modified to respond to changing needs.

    It sounds as though Scottsdale’s process alows for preliminary meetings with codes officials; that is my primary recommendation as a best practice for authorities having jurisdiction.

    But as to the larger question of how permitting agencies streamline the permitting process – as an architect who practices primarily in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, I have to say that there is very little interest on the part of permitting authorities in streamlining the permit process; rather, it continues to evolve in ways that complexify it. Most recently in the City of Philadelphia, in response to tragedies resulting from poor practices in building demolition, Streets Department review of even the simplest projects changed dramatically, effective May 1st, making it significantly more time-consuming and costly to get permits for even the simplest projects. Certainly changes were needed in the demolition permitting process, but the implications of the changes actually implemented do not seem to be well understood by the troops enforcing them, resulting in unnecessary costs and delays to projects that do not involve demolition.

    Until about a decade ago, it was possible to get a sketch-level review with a plans examiner that would allow the design team to get feedback from the AHJ agency, ultimately streamlining the permitting process. That is no longer possible in the City of Philadelphia or in most of the surrounding townships and municipalities, who largely rely on consultants for plans review.

    That would be my strongest recommendation – the ability to have meaningful discussion with authorities having jurisdiction early in the design process. A shared interpretation of codes requirements between the architect of record and the AHJ, and a transparent permitting process that allows dialogue, are the most important elements in streamlining the permitting process.

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    Mary Holland AIA
    CICADA Architecture/Planning, Inc.
    Philadelphia PA
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    Original Message:
    Sent: 05-15-2014 19:36
    From: Thomas Dwyer
    Subject: Permit Streamlining Best Practices

    We have found that one of the best ways to improve the permitting process is the development of a code data sheet(s). We have a standard code data sheet that includes all the code, zoning, occupancy, building type and construction type information. It also includes a plan(s), which show all rated walls, room sizes, occupancy capacities, exit separations, travel paths and distances, and exit capacities. We review this with the code agency in the preliminary meeting and include it in the front of the document set. This makes it easier for them to find the information they need for their review. It works to expedite the process. Tom
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    Thomas Dwyer AIA
    Thomas A. Dwyer AIA
    Scottsdale AZ
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  • Code Sheet

    We have found that one of the best ways to improve the permitting process is the development of a code data sheet(s). We have a standard code data sheet that includes all the code, zoning, occupancy, building type and construction type information. It also includes a plan(s), which show all rated walls, room sizes, occupancy capacities, exit separations, travel paths and distances, and exit capacities. We review this with the code agency in the preliminary meeting and include it in the front of the document set. This makes it easier for them to find the information they need for their review. It works to expedite the process. Tom
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    Thomas Dwyer AIA
    Thomas A. Dwyer AIA
    Scottsdale AZ

    I agree with having a code sheet, which can also be a “life safety plan”.  Here in CA, for school submissions to DSA, we also have a separate fire dept sheet showing the fire lanes and with the local FD jurisdiction signoff so that sheet doesn’t get ‘marked up’ during plan check.  We’ve used “life safety plans” for our medical projects as the wall fire and smoke rating indicators get very confusing when mixed with everything else on a typical architectural floor plan.

    Depending on the project’s complexity there may be more than one ‘code sheet’ in the front of the set.  For example a sheet with room and building exiting capacities may be separate from the code sheet showing occupancies, separations and construction types.

    We try to keep all of the code sheets and informational sheets out of the “A” drawings to separate them from construction and detailing, so as a rule we use “G” [for general] in the front of our sets.  It’s a lot easier to tailor the presentation of code review requirements to the AHJ the project will be reviewed by while keeping your ‘regular’ document standards typical as well.

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    Michael Elia AIA
    Associate Principal
    NTD Architecture
    San Dimas CA
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  • Three Steps

    Three Steps

    Sent: 05-13-2014 19:39
    From: Charles Graham
    Subject: Permit Streamlining Best Practices

    1.Find out the documentation required by the AHJ.
    2.Perform a thorough code analysis and report it.
    2. Provide the required documentation.

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    Charles Graham AIA
    Architect
    O’Neal, Inc.
    Greenville SC
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    I would add to that list to always have a presubmittal meeting with your AHJ. At the presubmittal meeting you walk the AHJ through your project and identify any potential problems you should be prepared to respond to in the submittal.

    Donald Henke AIA

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    Donald Henke AIA
    Senior Architect
    Jacobs
    Plano TX
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    Your three step process makes a lot of sense Charles … but I wonder if have you have faced situations where

    1      The AHJ requirements were unclear or inconsistent (for example between plan check and field inspection)
    2The code was interpreted differently between yourself and the AHJ
    3In addition to the ‘required’ documentation there were additional requirements that came up later?

    Cheers

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    Michael Malinowski AIA
    AIA Director – California Region
    Applied Architecture, Inc.
    Sacramento CA