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Tom Peck (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2003 - 06:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I am not sure if this site is intended to answer a question like this, but I will give it a go ...

A question has arisen as to whether the general contractor can submit a claim for a time extension due to delays caused in the plan review process. A set of plans was submitted by our office to the local AHJ, and the Owner (the State of MN) has paid the fee for the plan review. The contractor is requesting a time extension since he has recieved his Notice to Proceed, and neither the N/P or the specifications included a statement that he (the GC) would have to consider the timeframe of plan review in his schedule ... at this point he is unable to obtain his permit and is claiming several weeks of delay.

A201 indicates that the contractor shall "secure and pay for the building permit". Does "secure" include the whole plan review process necesssary by the local AHJ (submitting plans and paying plan review fees, submitting building permit application and paying building permit fees, etc), or just mean to complete the building permit application and pay the fee? If it means to submit plans for plan review, does the A/E or Owner void this by paying for the plan review fee (which the Owner has)? Isn't the plan review a part of the process of obtaining a building permit?

Is submittal of plans to the AHJ a duty of the A/E? Or is it a contractual duty of the GC?

Can someone lend some assistance on this? Thanks.
Ronald L. Geren, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: Specman

Post Number: 11
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2003 - 08:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Generally, the project is submitted for plan review by the architect before the project is bid, and should be ready for permit by the time the contractor is selected. The GC is only required to pay for the permit itself, and not the plan review fees. However, this is not always the case.

In instances where the installation is based on a performance specification (a good example would be fire sprinkler systems), then the GC, through his/her fire protection subcontractor, will be required to submit and pay for the plan review in addition to the permit.

There may be other permits, in addition to the building permit, that the GC will be responsible to pay for (off-site permits, demolition, etc.). These will vary by jurisdiction.

To answer your questions, "secure" doesn't mean the whole plan review process. In your case, the GC has no control over the development of the plans, so he shouldn't be held responsibile to make them permitable. This is unlike the fire sprinkler example above where the GC has full control over the development of the plans.
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2003 - 09:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Based on what you did not state in your Contract Conditions, you have a very poor position to dispute his contention. Generally you have to read what it says in your agreement.

I worked for a firm that had no qualms about placing the whole permiting process on the Contractor when working in "certain localities". It was based on the contention he "knew" the process better the design firm did. The words were there and it worked well.
Ralph Liebing
Senior Member
Username: Rliebing

Post Number: 35
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 07:20 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Any party to the project can file the application for a building permit. It is not all that unusual for the Contractor to be required to do this. Having been on both sides of the code/permit process, I feel the claim is legitimate, since the Contractor is faced with a situation he did not create and over which he has no control. [Yes, it would have been "nice", if someone had quiered the AHJ to ascertain how much time was required].Some relief may be had by requesting a partial permit [allowed by most jurisdictions] which permits a portion of the project to proceed. For example, ask for a "footing and foundation" permit, so that work can be started more promptly. Then it nay be necessary to request other "partials" for small portions of the work-- masonry walls for example. This is a form of "fast tracking" the permit process, i.e., working while the remainder of the plan review work is in process. The vast majority of plan review issues are "people issues" [life safety, etc.] and not basic construction issues, so the AHJs quite often will allow the incremental installation of work. Eventually, though, a full-blown, unconditional permit is required, even if it comes at the end of line after several partials are issued.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: Bunzick

Post Number: 135
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 08:56 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree with Ralph, basically, since the owner/designer team has taken on the permitting. However, if the contractor expected to be getting the permit, how much time did she allow for this in her schedule? Is she familiar with the typical time frames it takes for such reviews? I think you could successfully argue for at least a reduced number of days for any time extension. Here in New England, I can forcast the contractor's next claim come December: Since I couldn't start when I was supposed to, I'm not as far along as I should be, and now I have to do a lot more enclosure and temporary heating. That's where the big bucks are.

If you do reach an agreement for an extension, make sure that the contractor waives any and all future claims related to this issue at the time you negotiate.
David R. Combs, CSI (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 09:00 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree that the contractor may have a good case for what seems to be a legitimate delay claim. Technically speaking, the Notice to Proceed does him absolutely no good without a permit. Proceed with what? Mobilization and submittals maybe, but not much else of a truly productive nature.

However, since the plan review process is out of the Owner's control as well, the case could be made that the Contractor gets a time extension only and no dollars for damages. If he wants monetary damages as well, he'll have to make a solid case that the delay was the Owner's fault.
(Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 09:49 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Thanks for all of your input.

I had a feeling it was going to be a legitimate claim since the GC has no control over the plan review process ... he has no control over "completeness" or "accuracy" of the plans (both in terms of code compliance) by the A/E, nor did he have control over the submittal to the AHJ for plan review. (And as David points out, this is also out of the control of the Owner.) In this case, there will also be additional time responding to various minor code issues with the AHJ prior to the plan review being completed.

In this $12M project, we knew going in that there was going to be a long plan review process -since we'd met with the AHJ several times over the course of the design ... it ended up being 6 weeks from plan submittal to the AHJ to our reciept of the plan review comments. We also will have some additional time for our written response and the AHJ's reply. Unfortunately, we didn't indicate any of this in the specifications ... of course, this has never been an issue in any of our past projects - even with the recent longer lead times for AHJ plan review.

We'd asked about a footing/foundation permit during the plan review process ... this was not accepted.

I had just found this forum yesterday, although I've been using 4specs for product/manufacturing searches for some time now ... just never looked any further than the product divisions. I appreciate the fact that this is a location to ask questions and get input from others knowledgeable in the spec arena - I've reviewed a number of other questions in this forum, and can see it can be of great assistance. Thank you!!

Ralph Liebing
Senior Member
Username: Rliebing

Post Number: 36
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 11:47 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Tom-- just 2 other thoughts. First, was there some problem with the footings and foundations that the parital permit was denied? If so, might concentrate more on them, code wise, in the future to avoid other denials. But even then it is quite unusual to receive a denial. Second, in meeting with the AHJ, you might explore the possbility of partial permits, early-on, just to see where they stand on them, and how the timing might work. The old "ounce of prevention is worth........"

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