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What is a Permit Runner?

Permit Runner

Permit Runner

The term “permit runner” has been around for decades and is sometimes synonymous with the term “permit expediter”.¬† They refer to an individual running from building department to building department delivering and picking-up permits. Both terms are way outdated, and do not describe the services that a professional permitting processor supplies to their clients in the high tech construction industry of today. An industry that is bogged down with bloated government bureaucracy, volumes of codes, ordinances, and regulations. To meet the needs of their Clients, today’s so called “permit runner”, must have a construction or architectural background, be able to read and understand construction drawings, and have a working knowledge of the of building codes and construction practices.

Twenty-five years ago I could walk into a City of Miami plan reviewers office with a box of pastelitos and Cubian coffee and walk out with a permit for a complete interior build-out. The days of the mini-skirt clad, hot blond, permit runner, getting a plan reviewer to sign everything she puts in front of him are over. The term “permit expediter” is also a misnomer. Governments have their procedures and processes which need to be followed every step of the way. It is the exception rather than the rule, that if you know someone, you can circumvent the process. Most government employees want to protect their very lucrative pensions and will not violate policies to do you a favor. There is always the possibility, in today’s tight economy, that your government might offer expedited review. For a fee, …of course!

Permit Source, and the permit processors of 2010 are professionals that work along with contractors, attorneys, engineers and or architects to determine what exactly needs to be done in order for the building process to start correctly, with the proper forms and supporting documents. Every municipality has different systems, rules, forms and procedures, and government agencies are typically, slow and unresponsive. Permit processors review and track documentation, coordinate and disseminate information to all parties involved in the project, and keep the project moving through the permitting process. Many times, even on a small job like a re-roof, permitting will involve several governmental agencies and a permit processing service will manage the entire  process for you.

The conclusion is;… if you are looking for a “permit runner”, hire your teenage son, or your retired mother-in law. If you want a professional permit processor, then hire Permit Source. You get what you pay for!

Do I Need A Building Permit?

Do_I_Need_A Building_PermitMy last blog entry was about work without a permit, and since a large number of people end up at the Permit Source website using the search string; “Do I need a permit?”, I figured it would be helpful to offer information on this subject. Please understand this only relates to Florida and specifically South Florida.

The answer to the question is, almost always, yes. All mechanical, electrical and plumbing work requires a permit. Roof repair or replacement requires a permit. Exterior window and or door replacement requires a permit. Driveways, fences, screen rooms and sheds. Believe it or not, in some municipalities, the Zoning Gestapo police might cite you with a civil violation if you do not get a permit to paint your house. They need to make sure you are using an approved color. Every municipality has their own local Code and Ordinances which can supersede State or County Code if it is more stringent.

As always, call your local Building Department to get an answer your question, “Do I need a building permit?”. It is better to be safe than sorry. They can double the permit fees for work “without a permit” and asses daily fines until the permit is issued. Make note! That is issued not applied for. Checked out the Permit Source Helpful Links page for the listings of the South Florida building departments.