How long does it to obtain a building permit?


Building permitting is a complex process and it is advised that the client allows the architect sufficient time to commumicate, to secure necessary approvals, and correspond with the plan review department.  The permit officer will release the building permit until the plans and specifications for the project have been reviewed and are found by the authority having jurisdiction to be in full compliance with all local, state, federal codes and regulations.


Commercial building permits is a process that take to 2 to 3 months or longer due to the inherent complexities of the plan review process, communication & coordination efforts, and departmental approvals such as Fire Marshal, Health, Environmental, Zoning, Fire Prevention, Public Works, Planning, Zoning, etc.  


According to most building department guidelines, in order to obtain a building permit for a residential project that has no zoning or historical requirements and issues takes up to 2 weeks depending on the complexity of the building. Any project which involves historic preservation may take up to a year at times when dealing with key historic preservation aspects and details that are enforced by the historic commissions' Architectural Review Committees.


Commercial and Residential projects requiring variances: variances, hearings, and approvals from departmental review boards, architectural review committees, and neighborhood associations prolong the permit process up to 3 months, perhaps longer if certain factors affect the quality of the neighborhood and the aspects of the building design requiring revisions by the architect to conform to design standards set forth by the governing bodies having jurisdiction over your project.


Most architects, builders, and developers are finding it takes more and more time to get through the permit process. 6-9 months is now very common in most jurisdictions. Even a simple home improvement permit can take as long as 3-4 months to get a permit approved if there are design and zoning issues to resolve.



Why does it take too long to obtain a building permit?


Rapid growth and a robust economy bring more regulations and a slow down in the building permit approval process as jurisdictions find themselves short the staff needed to process all the new construction permits.


The time needed to get a building permit depends on the type and complexity of the work, the completeness of the application and the staff workload at the time of the application.  The majority of permits issued by the City are for simple building, plumbing, mechanical and electrical work and are issued ‘over the counter’ on the same day of application.  Those permits may be requested in person or by electronic means by homeowners or licensed contractors.  An application for more extensive work usually requires a detailed review of a plan before a permit is issued to ensure that it will comply with all relevant codes and ordinances.  In some cases plans are also reviewed by outside agencies or may require special approvals or permits, which could take longer.  A typical plan review includes a review of the City development code, zoning, site development, and up to eight construction codes covering aspects such as building, mechanical and electrical, fire, accessibility, hazardous materials, and energy conservation.  A thorough review helps eliminate expensive changes during construction.  Applications are usually completed in the order they are received and typically take one to two weeks for one-and-two family dwellings and accessory buildings.  Complex residential, multi-family, commercial and industrial projects take longer.





Archi-Dinamica Architects, LLC


New Orleans:

223 S Jefferson Davis Pkwy

New Orleans, LA  70119

504 486-8616 Office

504-486-8617 Fax

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Houston, TX  77019

832-519-8503 Office



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