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.