An architect can absolutely help you with the process of getting your remodel or building project permitted! In fact, an architect is probably the best person for the job.
Many people who undergo a residential or commercial project that requires a permit think they need to rely on their general contractor to help them navigate the permitting process. While a general contractor is certainly qualified to do this, you may want to consider having your architect take on this portion of the job.
A general contractor is typically not privy to the conversations that went on during the design portion of the project. He or she may not know why certain design decisions were made—what problems they were intended to solve or what desire they fulfill. So, when the city takes issue with a portion of the design, the contractor might have a difficult time coming up with an alternate solution since they don’t know why it was designed that way in the first place.
An architect, on the other hand, is the person who knows the project inside and out. If the city requires any changes to the design, an architect will be able to offer a solution that satisfies both the city’s requirements and the client’s.
At our Long Beach architecture firm, we work with a lot of great general contractors in and around the Long Beach area. We have found that many of them are what we would call “do-ers.” They prefer to be on the job site, getting things done on the construction side of the project. One of the last things they want to do is spend their time talking to people in the city planning department, trying to decipher building codes.
To put it mildly, dealing with city planning departments can sometimes be a challenge. Two people within the same department might interpret a particular code differently. Or something that’s really important to one city might not be a big deal in the neighboring city. An architect deals with building codes and city planning departments on a regular basis. We know the patience and diligence it often takes to get plans approved. We have great relationships with the cities in our area. They have respect for our work, and our plans often get approved quickly with few to no issues. However, when issues do arise, we are able to find creative solutions that don’t compromise the design.
All of this being said, not every Long Beach architect is willing to work with the city on their clients’ behalf. Some prefer to completely hand off the project to a general contractor once the design portion is completed. As you interview architects in Long Beach, make sure you ask about their preferred level of involvement in the permitting process.
At Grisafe Architecture, it is our preference to work with our clients all the way through to the completion of their projects. We want to make sure that all of their requirements and wishes are implemented to their satisfaction. If it looks like their vision will be compromised at any phase of the process, we want to step in on their behalf and make things right. Sometimes, this means we need to come up with creative solutions when the city planning department asks for changes to our drawings, which we are happy to do. It’s part of advocating for our clients, which is at the core of what we do at our Long Beach architecture firm.