A good permit expediter is worth his weight in gold. Permit expediting, typically short for building permit expediting and assistance, serves a similar function to an engineer or architect as a paralegal does for an attorney. Both assist in the completion of paperwork and documentation. Both are required to keep current on local requirements for submittals.
Permit expediting is a specialization of architecture and engineering that concentrates exclusively on assisting with the building permit process. Larger cities, municipalities, or county and state authorities often require complex submittals prior to issuing a building permit. The permit expediter is invited because of his or her expert knowledge and familiarity with local conventions, legal requirements, and submittal expectations that help to expedite the building permit process.
The engineer, architect, client or contractor determine and agree upon project timelines in consultation with the permit expediter. The permit expediter assesses the needs of any or all of the above and determines the level of involvement the project requires. From this basis, the expediter provides an estimate of his or her fees. This proposal typically identifies limitations, exclusions and other expectations in addition to deadlines and submittal requirements. The proposal may be for a lump sum or on an hourly basis, depending on the expediters project expectations.
Forms and Collecting Materials
Permit expediter fees, similar to legal, architecture or engineering fees, vary depending on the particular task. Basic data entry and completing forms for basic submittal on a small project, including submittal and pickup, generally costs a lump sum of a few hundred dollars. Salaries for this work depend on the local market; however fence or garage contractors often generate sufficient demand for building permits to hire a permit expediter full time. Salaries are typically in the range of $15 to $25 per hour, as of 2011, with negotiable vacations, holidays, insurance, a mobile telephone or reimbursements for mileage and a home office.
Submittal and Resubmittal
More experienced expediters, and some engineers or architects, may make a specialty of permit expediting for projects that require plans and complex documentation, which may include identifying particular components of a building, documenting volumes of material, environmental impact statements and compliance documentation. Some municipalities, such as Chicago, require a bond and background check prior to issuing a permit expediter license, which protects the municipality, as well as the public, by developing a body of experience among licensed permit expediters skilled enough to detect and prevent simple city corrections, such as incomplete forms or missing signatures. Expediters with this concentration and experience are typically expected to assist in initial and secondary submittals to municipalities, including corrections and clarifications of drawings or permit application content to plan examiners. Depending on qualifications, professional licenses and academic training -- particularly for specialists -- salaries for these specialized positions range from $20 to $100 per hour in 2011.