Considering construction a post frame building for commercial use? If so, many jurisdictions offer a pre application conference which will greatly ease the overall permit process, as well as providing a total view as to all of the requirements necessary to be met.
Why should I go through a PAC?
In my humble opinion, if a pre application conference is an available option – take advantage of it, It can save boatloads of future grief, not to mention unexpected pitfalls and costs.
What does a PAC involve?
A Pre Application Conference (PAC ) is a preliminary evaluation of a project by staff from various the various departments and divisions, which will be involved with a potential project. Staff represented may be from several departments, which may include: Planning, Building, Fire, Public Works, Health, and Water and Power. In some instances a Case Manager is assigned who will facilitate the PAC and provide a single point of contact to help navigate through the entire review and approval process.
PAC Meeting Agenda
At the PAC meeting, the staff will meet to discuss project issues and requirements of the proposed project according to current regulations, guidelines and policies. It is an opportunity for the staff to identify any discretionary reviews and approvals necessary, inform of any possible conflicts with policies and regulations, and, if necessary, offer other options to pursue in lieu of those proposed. A flow chart outlining the course the proposed project will need to take through the review and approval process is also provided. All documentation, including applications, brochures, submittal requirements, fee estimates, a flow chart, and review comments related to the project are provided often in an organized packet called the Development Guide. The information derived from a PAC does not constitute any approval of a project. PAC meetings are not public hearings.
What sort of things might be brought out at a PAC?
Highway/roadway/public works people will advise if the street may need to be widened, turn lanes added, as well as requirements for curbs and sidewalks. Having had to pay for all of these items in projects I was personally involved in, it is best when they are known about upfront. After the fact… they can be potential budget breakers.
Fire – how close can a proposed new pole building be from other structures or property lines before fire walls need to be considered? Does the property have adequate water flow available for fire prevention? In some cases, an alternative water reservoir may need to be added. A hydrant (or hydrants) may need to be included for the development. If fenced or gated, a Knox-Box® will probably be required.
What else do I need to do?
Planning will deal with percentage of the property which can be covered with structures, dimensions of the building(s) as well as heights, setbacks from property lines, roadways and easements. They may require an engineered site plan, as well as provisions for storm water runoff. Requirements for parking spaces can be determined.
While these are just a few of the involved parties, the areas which may be covered and potential costs can be extensive and expensive. Structural building plans are not required in a Pre application Conference. This is the opportunity to find out what the real costs for the entire project will be. Not just the building structural costs, which are usually just a fractional portion of the entire project.
Good luck, and let me know if this process helped to speed things along to get your permit!