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As an architect or developer, you take pride in knowing that you built a safe and resilient home. When people enter it, they shouldn’t have to worry about their personal safety because they know that the construction is robust and will endure the test of time and nature. People are justified in expecting that their homes are safe, and building codes and standards are the foundation of this expectation.

These codes and standards comprise a thorough set of related regulations that govern the construction, remodeling, renovation, demolition, and repair of homes. As numerous as the objectives of building codes are, the main goal is to protect the wellbeing, safety, and health of the public when it comes to the building and occupation of homes.

Building codes are either model or adopted. Model codes consist of rules, recommendations, or suggested practices for others to follow when it comes to the construction and occupancy of homes. They are not legal requirements but may become so if the federal, state, or local government adopts them. Adopted codes (or simply, “codes”) are the decree of the jurisdiction, and they define a minimum standard to which homebuilders must adhere.

A code addresses a specific aspect of building performance. For example:

  • Building code addresses the design and construction of a building
  • Energy code regulates energy conservation
  • Fire code covers life safety for protection against fire and related risks during occupancy

Sometimes, a jurisdiction — such as the federal, state, or local government — may supplement or amend model codes to suit regional needs. Thereafter, they may adopt the model code into law and make it part of the jurisdiction’s building, energy, or fire code. Upon adoption, the codes become enforceable by law to ensure compliance. The relevant authorities may order homeowners, designers, or builders who fail to meet code requirements to make repairs or cease construction.

Failure to heed the orders may lead to a fine, revocation of the building permit or an order to demolish all or part of the building. Likewise, failure to meet code requirements may lead to the cancellation of insurance, serious legal issues, or an inability to secure a connection to utilities. The authorities may deem the home unfit for occupation because it poses serious safety risks. For these reasons, compliance with building codes is imperative.

Code Types and Examples

The following are examples of codes to which all architects and developers need to adhere when building new homes.

Architectural Plans

  1. Demolition Plan listing quantity of hazardous waste (such as asbestos) or materials, if any, to be removed
  2. Foundation and Structural Floor Framing plans
  3. Floor plans, existing and proposed
  4. Exterior Elevations
  5. Structural Material Specifications
  6. Structural and Architectural Details
  7. Typical Cross Sections in each direction
  8. Shear Wall
  9. Stairway Rise and Run, Framing, Attachment and Dimensions of Members
  10. Shear Transfer and Holdown Bolt details
  11. Prefabricated Fireplace with approved listing number
  12. Section R301 Design Criteria

Mechanical, plumbing and electrical (MEP)

  1. Location and size of HVAC equipment
  2. Location of plumbing fixtures
  3. Location and size of fixtures, outlets, smoke detectors, switches, main electrical panels, and subpanels
  4. Spark Arrestors in chimneys
  5. Title24 (California only)
  6. California fire code
  7. Electrical membrane structures
  8. Emergency alarm systems (where required)
  9. California plumbing code

The codes change or are updated every couple of years. While the above lists may not be exhaustive, they give a good sense of the codes any architect or developer should expect to encounter when building new homes. One way to stay compliant and make sure your designs and plans meet all code requirements is to hire an MEP engineering consultant firm that can work with you to create the most robust plans possible.

Compliance Requirements Continually Evolve

As compliance requirements for constructing a new home become increasingly stringent, the conversation around the role of safety becomes more relevant. Consequently, the construction of homes continually evolves to match the design and climatic challenges. Codes are vital in the establishment and maintenance of a building that is safe, sustainable, resilient, and efficient. Well-defined regulations, provisions and guidelines create a framework that safeguards the structure and its occupants.

As energy, building, and fire codes intensify, the standards and code provisions for insulation will become increasingly important. The growing complexity of building envelop design necessitates the understanding of relevant codes and standards in order to design and build competitive homes. From acoustical specifications to fire safety to thermal resistance, the plethora of codes and standards for building a new home will evolve. The development of standards and codes continues to be a collaborative and transparent process that benefits from the innovations, knowledge, best practices, and advancement of all the stakeholders in the residential construction industry.

Coupled with ongoing revision, an effective framework of codes facilitates the consistency needed for the manufacturing and business environment to remain competitive. This consistency is also essential for economic robustness and conducive to advancements in products, materials, and practices of construction. As a result, the construction industry can grow and match the needs of the modern world, serving the people and organizations who contribute to thriving societies.

Work With Pro Engineering to Ensure Compliance

Pro Engineering is a strong supporter of the collaborative process that aims to advance codes and standards. We are a forward-thinking company that aims to drive change and innovation for a better tomorrow. With over 35 years of experience in the industry, we take pride in our team of well-trained and highly qualified consultants that offer services to builders, architects, designers, and developers in the Greater San Diego and Orange Counties.

From design to engineering to construction projects, we check off several boxes. Working with MEP professionals is beneficial whether you’re a building owner, architect, or contractor. We offer a full-service solution that optimizes your building performance, regardless of the size. We help you stay competitive by streamlining your construction process and improving your bottom line.

Pro Engineering ensures your HVAC, plumbing, and electrical engineering run smoothly. Our trained MEP specialists help you design systems that operate efficiently. Either before or during the construction process, we help you design an appropriate MEP layout and engineer it according to the building code. Contact Pro Engineering today, and let’s talk about your project.

Whether you want to do a simple remodel on your home or are a developer who wants to complete a large-scale project, you should expect delays when submitting building plans and plan check renewals in the greater San Diego, Orange, and LA counties. 

While it’s frustrating to deal with delays, it’s essential to realize that this is a national problem. Research from nPlan estimates that delay times have doubled since the beginning of the pandemic, with over 85% of projects delayed

Early incorporation of essential plan aspects such as MEP engineering design services can help offset these delays, but it’s still important to understand why they are occurring in Southern California. Here are some of the reasons for delays and what you can do to speed up the review process. 

Reasons for Building Permit/Plan Review Delays

One of the biggest reasons for delays is the backlog created by COVID-19. During the pandemic, most services in California were either stopped or stalled. Permits continued to flood the system, but construction and permitting halted for all intents and purposes. 

On March 19th, California Governor Gavin Newsome issued a statewide lockdown, leaving many construction projects halted. The governor would later clarify that services critical to maintaining infrastructure were permitted to continue operating, but there was still confusion over what constituted “critical infrastructure”. 

In cities such as Long Beach, some companies stopped accepting jobs altogether because of the long delays. In Orange County, accelerated plan reviews have been discontinued until further notice, meaning that regardless of the importance of a project, everyone goes into the same queue. 

Heavy Regulations Slow Down Projects 

Because of California’s heavy building regulations, permits back up quickly. You need a permit to replace an electrical box or extend a room in California. Building a swimming pool could become a nightmare before the pandemic because of permits, inspections, plan check inspections, etc. Afterward, it became nearly impossible.  

While regulations are necessary to keep people safe, they can also lead to confusion and delays. In Laguna Hills, the regulations for fire sprinklers take up 28 pages. If a developer misses one regulation, it can set a project back months and cost thousands of dollars to fix. 

Many delays happen because of minor mistakes or a contractor missing a regulation buried in guidance documents. This is another reason hiring MEP consulting services can speed up a project. MEP experts know and keep up to date on these regulations and can provide guidance on how to meet them in the fastest and most cost-effective way possible. 

A Shortage of Workers 

Almost every industry in the country has a shortage of workers, and government jobs are no exception. San Jose says to add three weeks to the expected turnaround time for initial permit reviews. This doesn’t include the many other steps required to complete a project. Inspections are also taking more time as city governments haven’t been able to increase the number of inspectors to meet the current demand. 

San Diego is currently taking 34 weeks to issue building permits. They currently have 30,000 projects in review and 800 ready to undergo final check for permit issuance, with another 1,200 applications prepared for intake. 

How to Deal with Delays

If you are working on any construction, building, or remodeling project, you should expect city processing delays to arise. Here are some tips for dealing with these delays:

  • Be patient – processing delays are often out of your control, so it is essential to stay patient and not get too frustrated.
  • Stay organized – keep all your project documents in order so that you can quickly and easily access them when needed.
  • Communicate with your team – let your team members know about any delays so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Keep the city updated – keep the city updated on your project status, so they are aware of any delays or changes.
  • Be flexible – be flexible with your project timeline, and don’t try to force things to move faster than they can.

Aside from these general suggestions, there are two essential things that you need to do if you want to minimize permit and plan check delays. 

First, it’s essential to make sure that you submit everything correctly. Your permits should have all the information needed. One of the primary reasons for delays is that permits arrive with missing information. This requires city workers to review the permits, send them back for corrections, and review them again. 

Earlier, we discussed the challenge of dealing with regulations. One missed step pushes a project back by weeks and significantly impacts budgets. The same applies to the initial submission of permits. 

Second, it’s essential to have a team of experts on your side. 

The Importance of MEP Engineering Companies

MEP engineering design services can help keep your team focused as you work through delays in the greater San Diego, Orange, and LA counties. Most construction and development firms have multiple plans and plan checks in process and under uncertainty. When this happens, it’s easy to let some details slip through the cracks, leading to even more delays. 

Choosing a reputable MEP consulting firm is important. You will want a team of experts that understand the city, county, and state regulations. Instead of spending the time to go through each regulatory process, you can trust MEP engineers to provide you with clear designs that meet regulations, include all necessary details, and will pass through city processing with relative ease. 

These services save you time and money by helping you deliver projects on time and under budget. Delays are costly; by working your way through them more efficiently, you can maximize your time and money while providing timely results to your clients. 

Let Pro Engineering Help You Today 

Pro Engineering has provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering design services in Orange and San Diego counties since 1995. During this time, we’ve established ourselves as one of Southern California’s best engineering consulting firms.

Our MEP engineering design team can help you prepare required construction documents for city or state submission for permitting. Even after plans are finalized, we continue to make adjustments and revisions per owner request, city plan check requirements, or to meet engineering goals. Projects can move fast, luckily, so can we.

 For more information on how we can assist you specifically or to get a quote for your next project, contact us today

Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems (MEP) are vital in a modern building since they establish an indoor environment that is appropriate for human occupancy over broadened periods. Notwithstanding, MEP installations depict an enormous part of construction expenses, and they represent more than 30% of the budget plan in many building projects.

Luckily, there are numerous approaches to decrease the expense of MEP installations without influencing performance. With wise plan choices, it might even be feasible to reduce expenses and improve a few parts of the project at once. Energy and water consumption are also determined in incredible part by the MEP plan, and expert engineering services can save a large number of dollars in utility charges every year.

In this blog, we will talk about four powerful systems to decrease the expense of MEP installation. As a real estate developer, it is to your greatest advantage to complete construction with practically little or no change orders. Nonetheless, there are alternate approaches to decrease costs that are less evident upfront.

Involve MEP consultants for uninterrupted process 

Many change orders are the consequence of poor communication. For instance, if the dimension and installation prerequisites of an equipment piece are assumed erroneously, costly changes might be a consequence during the construction stage. By getting all parties involved from the beginning, the design requirements are clear and unwanted surprises are avoided.

Clear communication is particularly significant when utilizing prefabrication and modular development. For this situation, the building is congregated with pre-assembled parts that are delivered to the site, frequently with an MEP system built-in. While this construction technique is quicker, there is less adaptability for modification once the modules have been completed.

Innovation can improve coordination among the parties associated with a building project. For instance, contemporary design software permits simultaneous work on a similar building model, and conflicts among components can be identified and informed right away. There is also a project management podium to supplement design software, which incorporates helpful features, for example, cloud-based document sharing.

Optimize the Layout of MEP Installations

MEP installation has several components, however, those utilizing the most space are usually hidden from sight. For instance, an ordinary business building will have a thousand feet of conduit, finding an efficient layout for all these systems is channeling. With ordinary 2D plan software, tracking down an effective format for every one of these systems is challenging, in any event, for experienced engineers. In any case, when the design is taken to a 3D environment, the format of MEP systems can be enhanced all the more without any problem.

An inefficient MEP design causes two sorts of costs: more materials and more skilled labor. With each foot or conduit, piping, or ventilation work that is eliminated from the plan, the venture turns out to be more affordable.

Getting project workers and providers involved from the beginning helps towards this objective. At the point when the areas, measurements, and installation requirements of MEP components are known plainly, architects and design engineers can focus on tracking down the ideal format. Then again, tracking down a productive MEP format is more troublesome when data is given bit by bit and the plan is changed ordinarily.

Improve the Building Envelope to Reduce HVAC Workloads

Boilers, chillers, and different sorts of huge HVAC hardware are among the most costly MEP parts in building projects. Be that as it may, the cost of these units is resolved in incredible part by their nameplate capacity. There is a typical misinterpretation that having curiously large hardware is something worth being thankful for, however, you are spending more than needed. Furthermore, oversizing makes maintenance more expensive.

At the point when a building has a proficient thermal envelope, it saves indoor heat all the more successfully during winter, while hindering open-air heat during summer. Contrasted with a building that has the base protection required by code, this building can keep an agreeable temperature with less warming and cooling. HVAC equipment can be sized more modest thus, diminishing forthright expenses.

Plan the Project Carefully and with Anticipation

The absence of preparation can make a project more costly, regardless of whether you have an expert plan and an experienced contractor. For instance, if there is a lot of construction action when you start the project, you might be slowed down due to a lack of skilled labor. You might be compelled to compensate double-time if there is a tight cutoff time to meet, making the project more costly.

Then again, if peaks in construction activity are expected, your contractor can soar the project staff ahead of time. There are likewise occasional components that you ought to consider when planning the project. For instance, on the off chance that you intend to introduce a cooling system not long before the late spring months, HVAC installers might be occupied with projects in multiple buildings.

With sufficient planning, you can plan for material and skilled labor shortages. On the off chance that these factors are not considered ahead of time, they can make your project more costly while postponing completion.

Whether or not your building upgrades are required or intentional, working with qualified MEP consultants guarantees you get agreeable outcomes while managing a budget. MEP consultant services can assist you with figuring out which of the plans is perfect for you and can be completed in the anticipated budget. In this way, you can prioritize investments.

Conclusion

Property owners in The USA can accomplish significant long-term benefits by working with qualified MEP experts. You can improve building execution, diminishing the utilization of assets like power, natural gas, and water while giving solace and safety to occupants. Also, you can have confidence that your organization won’t confront lawful action for missing the USA construction code requirements.

All in all, if you are looking for proficient MEP consultants to get your project done on time then PRO engineer MEP consultants are there for you. You can visit our website or can directly contact us!