PLEASE PERMIT ME TO TALK ABOUT…PERMITS

We are approaching winter here in New England, and we’ve been blessed with warmer than usual weather. Winter will, no doubt, strike with a vengeance.

Recently, we’ve received lots of requests for service, especially renovations that require moving sprinkler heads and additions that need to be closed-in before the cold weather. Regulations on the type of permits that need to be acquired vary from location-to-location. Although there is a building code in place that addresses what is required, some discretion is left up to the local fire chiefs on what they require.

In some cases, the paperwork required to relocate two or three sprinkler heads is the same for those covering a 50,000-square-foot area. The strictest requirements require the contractor to provide a print showing the proposed relocation (even for two or three sprinkler heads). The print must bear a stamp by a Massachusetts-licensed Fire Protection Engineer. Forms specific to the city or town must be completed. These can include an affidavit that the owner of the building does not owe any back taxes, a building permit and a fire permit. Building departments can specify that x number of copies are to be submitted in paper form with extra copies in electronic format.

In some cases, the building department has the final say in issuing the permit, and they have up to 30 days to review the prints and issue a permit. The fire department has jurisdiction on allowing alarms to be shut-down, especially those systems that are monitored or connected directly to the fire department dispatch. Oftentimes, the building department does not “speak” to the fire department and each department stands fast on their own turf.

We recently applied for a permit that cost $500 for a $30,000 project. This fee only covered the permit to install the fire protection system. Other fees are required for the building permit, plumbing permit and other permits. In addition to all this, there is a fair amount of overhead that goes into chasing down the permits and ensuring that they are issued properly, so that we can commence the project. Our clients sometimes get frustrated that construction cannot move forward due to lack of permits. It can be a rude awakening when we explain the process and the time (and expense) it can take to do the work that needs to be done just to get their project going.

The point of all this is that, the more you think ahead, the easier it is to get your project or service completed in the timeframe that works for you. Call us at 508.644.2221 or e-mail PSI@pipingsystemsinc.com to see how we can help you with your project—whether is a sprinkler project, HVAC work or process piping job.

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