Jim made a lot of good points
"Perhaps that's why hiring a professional up front is worth it? They'll know
processes, know what is special and what isn't, and know the right and wrong
way to describe what you want to do."
Permit desks definitely treat "professionals" differently than homeowners.
Enough so it's easy to get cynical and think it's a little "insiders' group" .
But sitting in the room at the permit desk waiting for your turn, is really
instructive for seeing what the permit desk has to deal with, how they think,
and pointers on how you should act.
Most homeowners I've seen at permit desks are focused on trying to avoid the
cost of building something right. That just stiffens the resolve of the permit
desk, because you get lumped into the general category of "arguing homeowners
that actually don't understand real issues:...or accept that there are laws to
comply with, whether you agree or disagree.
But then again, paying professionals doesn't guarantee a good job. Unless you
can pay a lot.
I think what works well, is to try to turn yourself into a good enough
professional for the job. That way you can do a better job at deciding where
spend money and where you don't.
Like for instance: if the permit desk says they want plot drawings on certain
size paper, you just do that, and take accurate measurements, and show all
setbacks etc. You might need some program to do drawings on your computer.
used Visio a lot for home projects that need drawings)
what works: treat the permit folks like professionals. And to know enough, and
act like, and expect them to treat you like a professional. You want to revel
And be ready for different people to be occasionally wrong. If you think of it
as a joint project, where the govt workers are required to have a say, but can
sometimes be wrong..then it'll work out.
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