Trends Summer 2017 - Page 7

TOP TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL PERMITS P ermits are part of the job for consulting engineers. But for clients, this can be uncharted territory. “For local units of government, these permits pop up once every 20 years instead of 20 times a year for a consultant. We don’t have the familiarity to jump right in and be efficient at it,” said Dave Solberg, city engineer in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Karla Price, landscape architect in Tampa, Florida, concurs: “Somebody who knows what questions to ask can save you money and save you time, and you’ll come up with a better project in the long run. They know what the agencies look for and what their goals are.” “Somebody who knows what questions to ask can save you money and save you time, and you’ll come up with a better project in the long run.” – Karla Price, landscape architect, Tampa, Florida Every state has different regulations, and every project is subject to different permitting needs. However, several factors help ease the permitting process. 1. Start early. Contact the regulatory agency early in the project development to discuss and work through any issues while they’re easy to fix. 2. Understand who does what. For example, most projects that affect wetlands or surface waters require working with federal (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), state, and potentially local permit agencies. Check with each agency at the beginning of the project to confirm their involvement. 3. Understand the process. Providing correct and complete information the first time helps keep the review process moving forward. 4. Know the people. While permit applications are standardized, each reviewer h as personal preferences that should be understood and addressed. 5. Allow sufficient time for agency review. If the schedule is compressed, keep in close contact with the regulators to avoid delays. “It’s very important to have working relationships with regulators,” said Jan Ash, Ayres civil engineer in Tampa. “When you get to know them, they know your product is consistent, and they know what to expect. They know you work with them as opposed to against them.” – Wendy Kinderman AyresAssociates.com │7