August 26, 2022
Successfully Securing Site Permits for Land Development
Site permits are the formal authorization provided by local governments that allow land owners to develop their property. Anyone involved in land development knows how long it can take to get site permits, especially without the assistance of an experienced team of consultants.
With over a thousand projects successfully permitted across the state of Florida, our team of experts at JBPro want to share the secrets to securing site permits in a timely manner for land development projects.
Regulations and Codes
The best way to prepare a project for the site permitting process is by identifying the requirements the project will be held to. These standards, regulations, and codes should be considered in detail during site planning. If a civil engineer doesn’t start a project with the permitting process in mind, the design may end up needing to be reworked several times before securing agency approvals.
Such drastic corrections can be avoided by partnering with a civil engineer who is familiar with local site plan requirements. Civil engineers are best suited to get projects approved in jurisdictions where they already have experience.
Developers are all too familiar with project timelines (and how often they get pushed back), but the value of having a detailed project schedule cannot be overstated. At JBPro, we develop thorough but concise schedules that include submittal dates and expected permit completion dates. When creating these schedules, consultants should carefully factor in time for project planning, engineering design, and several rounds of revisions based on permitting agency comments.
Developers should be prepared to bring in multiple specialty consultants in addition to the civil engineer for every land development project. One way to connect with the best specialty consultants is to have an engineering project manager that has already built great relationships with other disciplines. Geotechnical, environmental, landscape, and transportation consultants are common contributors to a project. Leveraging these additional disciplines ensures that every code requirement is addressed appropriately.
The Permitting Process
Once the developer has approved an initial concept plan, the civil engineer would prepare a complete set of engineering plans to submit to one or more permitting agencies. Every location has its own regulating bodies, some of which include:
- Water Management Districts
- Transportation Authorities
- Environmental Protection Agencies
These get more complicated depending on what state, county, and municipality a site is located in. For example, in St. Augustine, Florida, driveway connection permits may be approved by either the Florida Department of Transportation or St. Johns County depending on who owns the adjacent roadway.
Small intricacies like this are why it’s imperative to have an experienced team of consultants working on your project. Inexperienced team members can cause shortcomings in engineering design, resulting in delayed project timelines. It’s better to have a team of experts from the beginning so issues can be planned for and addressed accordingly.
If a team has done everything they can to plan for site permitting, there is only one thing left that can improve the process: a project manager who builds and maintains great relationships. Non-technical skills may not be the first thing considered when selecting an engineering consultant, but getting permit approvals isn’t as simple as submitting a single set of engineering plans. There is always a back-and-forth between the design consultant and the permitting agencies.
No matter how well a site plan is designed, there will typically be some changes requested by local jurisdictions. Engineering consultants that maintain collaborative relationships with agency staff are crucial to making a development project successful. This includes keeping projects on schedule and achieving the outcomes intended by the developer.
Site Permit Secured
A successful site permitting process always depends on good communication. An ideal project manager oversees the civil engineering design, manages site permitting, and has a good relationship with their team. That same project manager encourages discussion with an owner and the rest of the team to best achieve the project’s scope. By being a strong communicator, they are able to address challenges quickly and make the changes necessary to keep a project on track.
The Right Team
Every land development project needs an engineering consultant with local connections, a collaborative approach, and an expert team supporting them. If you are looking for the right partner for your next land development project, look no further than JBPro. With over 25 years of experience getting site plans permitted in the state of Florida, we are prepared to support your next land development project. Connect with one of our team members today.