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It is extremely important that those planning on building have realistic time expectations related to the planning, design and approval stages.  At JWAI scheduling is one of those critical items that would be addressed immediately in order to determine if your timing expectations coincide with our ability to complete the work in a timely fashion.  In addition, a review of the approvals process and the expected timeframes involved in this aspect would also be undertaken and a realistic schedule formulated.  A number of factors can influence the schedule: lease agreements, funding allocations, construction timing and duration and contractor availability, just to name a few.      

The time period related to the planning stages of a project are often directly related to the scale and complexity of the project. But make no mistake, even the simplest and smallest building projects (which are on a scale that requires a Building Permit) are measured in months and yes, sometimes years for larger projects requiring Site Plan Approval; not in weeks.  The following is a simple breakdown of the various stages which have schedule implications:

• Pre-Design:
This stage involves gathering of information pertaining to the project, documenting existing conditions, undertaking research related to applicable by-laws and/or authorities having jurisdiction. Coordination of any related Consultants would normally take place at this time as well.

• Design Development:
This involves the processing of the information from the pre-design stage and formulating conceptual drawings, initiating preliminary budgeting and reviewing issues related to building program requirements.  Clients are usually heavily involved in all aspects at this stage and the communication of information back and forth can impact the overall schedule. An initial Building Code Review is undertaken during this period also. If additional levels of approval are required they are identified (eg. Minor Variance or Site Plan Review) and documentation prepared for submission.

• Construction Documents:
At this time a complete Building Code review is undertaken technical drawings are prepared for Permit submission and Tendering. This also involves the coordination of Consultants and their respective documents. For smaller projects fewer Consultants are involved, however outside designers such as engineered lumber and truss designers/suppliers must prepare information to accompany the Permit submission.

• Review and Approval:
All documentation related to Permit submission is reviewed and coordinated by the Architect, packaged together and submitted to the local Municipality.  Prudent use of the time after submission for tendering and preparation for construction is advisable. While the Permit documents are understood to be complete at the time of submission, Municipalities often provide comments upon review which may necessitate further coordination and submission of requested additional information.  While timeframes exist for Municipalities to review and issue permits, if the information submitted is deemed incomplete by the Municipality this requirement may no longer apply and the Permit issuance may now relate to the current workload at the local Building Department.

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