There’s really not a lot of excuse for the last couple of years, I got very busy running the business, hired a new employee, grew like crazy, and totally lost track of posting regularly. Not sure we’re going to maintain the kind of schedule I kept up before the hiatus, but I would like to get back to posting at least once a week, and I may open up the blog to other guest writers once in a while for alternate viewpoints on design, construction, architecture, and everything. So, for our re-launch, I thought I’d cover one of the recent changes in the rules in my area that has greatly advantaged myself, and try to convince you it can help you, too.
Sussex County, Delaware, where my office is located and where I probably do about 80% of my work, has recently started requiring a licensed architect’s seal on just about any permit application for commercial building. Basically, if you have a job in a public space, you have to get myself, or someone like me, to review it and sign off on it. In the past, small jobs had this requirement waived, but with this change, many project owners are scrambling for someone to seal something as they go for a permit. This is not a great situation for anyone, first, the client is in desperation mode and not in a great bargaining position and could easily get screwed on fees, especially if their project has a tight deadline. It’s also not ideal for the designer as we hate being rushed to sign off on items. Many of these projects seem like no-brainers, but we still need to do a thorough review, and possibly even a redraw or make some edits somehow, before we can sign off on it as we are taking legal liability on for the rest of our lives that this building, if something goes wrong, will protect the lives of the people inside at least at a code minimum level.
So, why should you bother to look for a professional to be more than a “rent-a-seal” service? It’s simple, and it’s the reason that the code requires a professional to review and approve the drawings prior to the building officials for public spaces. If you treat us as a resource rather than an obstacle to getting your project built, we can provide advice to you that’s worth more than our fees over time. This advice could be anything from meeting the new energy code mandates in an efficient way (more on that in a later post, promise) to attaining better fire safety or indoor air quality, to a host of other issues that may not be your biggest concern at the moment, but could become it over the next 10 years. Whatever you’re building, we’ve probably been there before, and we’ve had those battles with the fire marshal or the building official. We know what they want to see and can save you time and money getting there. We’ve also had clients take short cuts or come back to us about an issue that arose years later and can steer you away from those issues.
The bottom line is, you’re going to have to use us anyhow, might as well attempt to get some value from your money rather than treating it as a sunk cost, just engage with us prior to going for your permit.