Involvement in the Building Permit Process is Time Well Spent

Chris Sanderson

Principal

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Much to their own detriment, many owners are unaware and uninvolved in the building department approval process, choosing instead to rely on their architect or contractor to represent their interests. Building codes are interpretive by nature and complicated to navigate. The city’s review process is notoriously unorganized and their departments are reluctant to give concrete timelines to the process. Once the project is submitted, multiple state and local municipalities with competing interests are often reviewing your project in parallel and creating conflicting comments that have to be navigated by your design team. Your consultants each receive their isolated comments and often go to work making changes that they feel will satisfy the reviewing party.

Your architect, engineer, or contractor are not always best positioned for this task and can often find themselves in a precarious position during the building permit process. They have to balance protecting their client with preserving their professional license all while trying to be political with the reviewing agency as they will work together on future projects. They don’t want to push too hard on timeline for fear they will irritate the reviewer and will find it difficult to challenge comments. As the owner of the property you are in a much better position to challenge timeline and subsequent building comments. As owner you are the constituent, the tax payer, and the source of the permit revenue the city depends on.

An educated owner can tactfully take a leveraged position with the municipality to get better clarity on the process, timeline, and a firm understanding of what is required from their design team. Owners who stay involved can also have visibility to mistakes and oversights from their design and construction teams that otherwise get qualified as “unresponsive.” Clearly understanding responsibility between your team and city helps keep both sides on task.

Building a direct relationship with the city has the potential to increase the speed of your project approval, reduce your subconsultant fees, and eliminate the possibility of costly missteps resulting in redesign or numerous review cycles and can be one of the largest returns on time investments you can make in your project lifecycle. As you can imagine, staying involved to this level is often a big ask in terms of your time. If you can’t make that investment, this is a great value add synerBuild can bring. Let us represent you to save you time, navigate tricky decisions, and avoid costly design mistakes.

Anti-Tailgating Systems Modernizing Our Security Culture

Michael Soto

Director of Technology Services

Religious institutions, educational facilities, technology campuses, and manufacturing and distribution facilities have been trying to solve tailgating or piggybacking as long as they have been focused on securing their campuses and buildings. Tailgating or piggybacking is the act of entering a building through a secured entrance without presenting your own credentials; either grabbing ahold of a closing door as someone leaves a building or walking behind a credentialed person as they enter (often as they hold the door open for you). Advanced access security systems coupled with modern intrusion detection and reinforced with sophisticated video surveillance have the capability of delivering perimeter intrusion prevention except for one major flaw: your staff, parents, or employees. Our own well intentions are preventing the technology from working effectively. In the current tragic climate of public mass shootings, building security is no longer about preventing theft; it’s about preventing tragedy.

We learned from an early age to hold the door open for strangers, it was as culturally ingrained as “please and thank you.” Unfortunately, we need to put aside our mild manners and become comfortable enforcing more stringent security measures to protect our friends and family.

These challenges are not isolated to your campus, professionals across the country are facing the same cultural habits and fortunately the security technology sector has advanced solutions to help reinforce better behavior with the implementation of anti-tailgating measures that can detect each individual who passes through secure barriers. The biometric readers can detect when two persons pass through with one credential and can alert surveillance cameras to track the unauthorized person and alert security officials. Additionally, security and executive teams can chose to put in place protocols that suspend the credentialed employee who allowed unauthorized visitor access to reinforce the appropriate behavior.

We encourage you to look holistically at not only your security systems but also your security protocols and security culture. It is the unfortunate reality that it takes the undivided attention of your entire team to keep your churches, campuses, and workplaces safe. synerBuild’s technology design group can assess your current security systems and advise on improvements that will enhance your overall site safety.