In most communities across the United States, you have to obtain some form of construction permit for almost every building, remodeling or restoration project you want to undertake. For many developers, the permit process is a necessary evil: We know the rules are in place to ensure safety and adherence to proper codes, etc., but when our applications get lost in the bureaucratic abyss, we feel like pulling out hair out as our construction teams stand by, waiting for final approval. Time is money, and sometimes it feels like we’re just wasting gobs of both.
Unfortunately, there’s no set answer for everyone as to how long the permit process will take. It depends on many different factors, including:
The local jurisdiction (i.e., how they manage their own workflow, how many departments must review the application)
The local regulations (i.e., what types of projects require permits, how many permits you need)
Size and scope of the project
Completion of the application (if you forget to include an important document, for example, the process can be delayed)
Backlog of applicants (based on how much construction is going on in the city at one time)
In short, when you work with Wellbuilt, we can’t tell you precisely how long it will take to get a construction permit, but let’s talk about the permitting process in the areas in which we build—just so you can get a (slightly) better idea of what to expect.
Construction Permits in New York City
As a city in which construction literally never stops, New York City requires permits for almost everything—and while developers love to build here because of the investment prospects, the waiting game for getting one or more permits can be incredibly frustrating at times. Here in NYC, the time frame for obtaining a permit depends mainly on the type of work being done and how many departments must review it. For simple renovations like electrical work, you might get your permit in as little as a week. For larger building projects, you could be waiting up to 6 months for your permits to go through—in some cases even longer. Patience is definitely a virtue here.
Building Permits in Massachusetts and Connecticut
While neither Massachusetts nor Connecticut offers a specific time frame for obtaining permits, the rules in both states require officials to review building permit applications to approve or deny them within 30 days after being submitted—and many local towns can get them reviewed even sooner. Thus, generally speaking, the permit process goes a bit more smoothly in both of these states. That said, there are always issues that may hang up the process—for example, if you turn in an incomplete application, your approval may be delayed or denied. Also, if there is a problem with your application and it gets denied, you may have to correct the problem, resubmit and wait another 30 days for approval.
No one really enjoys having to go through the permitting process, but if you try to bypass this process, you could face hefty fines, plus you may required to undo things you’ve done and redo them the right way to come into compliance—which costs even more money. As painful as the waiting game may be, the rules are there for everyone’s safety—and even though time is money, you’ll save more money in the long run by making sure you’re in compliance.