Elite Permits

Blog

Letter From Elite Permits Founder Tatiana Gust

february 2021, issue 1

ELITE PERMITS

BRIEFING ON CONSTRUCTION & Some other stuff

permit expeditor
construction elite Permits
Written by TATIANA gUSt

          My name is Tatiana Gust and I am an engineer who works as a building code consultant and enjoys being a permit expeditor!

          I started the blog for Elite Permits because I love everything related to permits. I can talk all day about it, so I want to share all that I know to help others with their permitting experiences.

          Often, when talking about permitting, I see rolling eyes or expressions of “I don’t want to talk about it” but, since it is my passion, I often get people to tell me about their experiences. I regularly work with architects, builders, and owners who at one point or another have had an unpleasant experience because they did not know any better. At this point you must be thinking, “the architect should know better” or “the builder does this for a living so they should know too!” 

Well… it is not that simple. 

Building codes are updated every 3 years, local ordinances change from one city to the next, and these are updated on a regular basis. So, what may work for one project may not work for the next one because of different regulations, it is hard to keep up with the changes.

          I will never forget when I had a builder asked me to stop by a commercial site in Naples. He was talking to his architect about including an interior window to separate the showroom from the auto repair shop he was working at, so the clients could see the technicians working on their cars. The architect kept saying that it was going to cost a lot of money because it needed a fire wall, and the glass had to be fire rated glass. Both were incredibly good at their respective jobs; they had been working in the same municipality for many years and this was a standard requirement from the fire department, however, the builder had met me on another job and was hoping I could offer him a cheaper solution to please the owner.

         When I got there, I looked at the space and I knew that both the building code and the fire code had exceptions to the fire wall requirement, which neither of them was aware of. Due to the amount of time, effort and knowledge to get a permit through, my services are not cheap, but I was so confident that what I was telling them was an acceptable practice, that I offered them this: “If I cannot get this through, I will not charge you a penny and I will do all the inspections for free.” They were asking me only for permitting help, but I offered my private provider inspection services for free if I was not able to keep my promises. They both just looked at me with huge eyes and smiled, they thought they had me… little did they know that I was sure, without a doubt, that I could get it approved. And so, I did! 

The owner was happier, the builder looked like a champ, and the architect just kept asking me about other jobs where I could help them with similar solutions. My fee for the overall project (inspections and all) was about half of the cost of the fire window they originally wanted to install, so in their mind I not only saved them time, but money, and they liked their place much better since they have a more flexible space.

          To me, the most rewarding aspect of the experience was not that I got a better job, but that I helped the builder to please the owner, I helped the owner to have an overall lower cost for the project, within their time frame, while still preserving the building codes as they were intended. Last but not least, I gave the architect new perspectives that he was not aware of, which he could implement into new projects. For me, I was part of something bigger in which everyone benefited.

          So the lesson that I learned from this, was that when you go to the building department they just give you “yes” or “no” answers to what you propose, what I mean is they tell you if it meets or does not meet code, but they will not give you alternatives that can improve everyone’s outcome. That’s why we are here for, that’s what a true building permit expediter do. 

Please join my weekly letter to receive topics related to construction.

Elite Permits circular

Share this Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Related Articles

Permits for construction and changing windows

Changing your windows ???

I happen to live in Florida where we enjoy beautiful beaches and weather, however, a small price that we have to pay is to endure the occasional hurricane. I remember when I moved to Florida in May 2004, my husband told me “don’t worry about the hurricanes, I have been here for over 10 years and not even one has come through the city”. Lucky me! That year and the following year we had two major hurricanes which went through our backyard and did significant damage to our property.

Read More »
Alternative Exit

Alternative Exit

In an emergency….look for the alternative exit! When I started working on building code compliance almost 15 years ago, I wasn’t aware of the multiple exits that are required for buildings, I just thought they were optional exits by the architect but they are there for a reason. Any space that can accommodate more than 50 people must have a secondary exit so people can go in different ways. This is nothing more than another safe way to get out of the space.

Read More »
Fema 50 percent rule

FEMA 50 Percent Rule

Moving to Florida? Beware of the 50% FEMA rule. With so many people moving to Florida, I think it is important for you to know what this 50% FEMA is all about. Many people may be looking to buy a new home or have big dreams to remodel their current home, only to find out that they are limited on what they can do.

Read More »
Permits for construction

Need a Permit?

Do I Need a Permit? This is THE question I get asked all the time, and 95% of the time the answer is, YES! As a former building department manager, I have found that most people don’t realize they need a permit because they are working within their own 4 walls…

Read More »
Elite Permits ibc books

Where do building codes come from?

Where do Building Codes come from? It is hard to believe that concern for construction standards are dated to almost 4,000 years ago. The oldest known written codes were developed between 1792-1750 BCE under the direction of King Hammurabi of Babylon.

Read More »
Elite Permit Favorites
Social Media

Like Us On Facebook

Explore
Stay in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter for more updates

Need Help with Franchising?
We are Here To Assist You

If you would like to reach us immediately:

Feel free to call us at (239) 280-0575  and we will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.