Time is Money: Make the Most of Both with a Building Permit Expediter

Whether you’re a seasoned pro in the construction industry or working on your first major project, obtaining the necessary permits can be time-consuming and expensive. All too often, contractors or their employees invest countless hours in municipal buildings submitting the proper documentation and awaiting confirmation. And in the construction industry, time is money.

While there is no way to avoid the permit issue altogether, there are ways to make the process easier — by utilizing permit expediting services.

“In this industry, we all want to get our permits as fast as possible,” said Marc Remer, president of Construction Service Associates (CSA), a Chicago-based permit expediter. “Our job is to come in and help contractors out by doing what we know best, so they can do what they know best. It makes things easier for everybody.”

Permit expediters are experienced professionals who are well-versed in zoning and other regulatory processes. These “behind-the-scenes” consultants can significantly reduce time and costs to clients by charging per hour or per project, instead of a contractor employing a full-time staff member. Because expediters develop strong working relationships with the right connections at City Hall, their clients’ permits are pushed through as quickly as possible, keeping projects on track.

Plus, contractors no longer have to waste precious time or resources dealing with city traffic when a building expediter oversees the permitting process.

“For the most part, if you have all the paperwork and everything is smooth on that end, most items can be processed in a day or so — but, it can be quite aggravating coming into the city,” Remer said. “Put that burden on us so you don’t have to worry about it.”

Whether commercial or residential, permit expediters have the expertise to assist with every step in the permit process. And, since most projects involve multiple permits, everyone from building owners and developers, to contractors, architects, engineers, real estate management companies and more can benefit from the services these professionals provide.

“The City is always throwing us a curveball — changing this or changing that — so obviously, we have to stay on top of it,” Remer said of rules and regulations.

Although permit expediting services have been available for a number of years, Jay Lyon, executive director of the West Suburban Association of Plumbing Contractors (WSA), recently implemented a partnership with CSA that offers WSA members an exclusive discount on permit expediting.

“Permit expediting is really a pretty big deal,” Lyon said. “Any of our member companies who use CSA’s services will get a 20 percent discount on their expediting fees. If WSA members reach a certain monetary threshold in a calendar year, the discount goes up to 25 percent.”

From hydrant and transportation permits to sewer and repair permits, typical processing fees can range from $175-$950 or more. With the new discount in place, which extends through December 2017, members have the potential to save hundreds of dollars, especially if they currently use an expediter.

The partnership provides WSA member contractors with a convenient end-to-end solution, eliminating the need to send their own valuable staff to City Hall for permit completion.

“WSA looks to be creative in helping the bottom line of our members,” Lyon said. “The idea behind it is that expediters will handle it so your manpower is not taken by someone standing in line.”

For Remer, the opportunity to help new clients in the construction industry is more than a job — it’s a chance to be a small part of the ever-changing landscape of an iconic city.

“It’s really exciting to watch the city get bigger with bigger buildings, outward expansion and high rises,” he said. “It’s definitely a unique area of work here.”

About WSA

In 1933, a group of plumbing contractors from Chicago’s western suburbs joined together to form the West Suburban Association of Plumbing Contractors. Today, more than 80 years later, the association has grown to include Chicagoland’s premier plumbing contractors, with a board offering more than 200 years of combined experience in the industry. The WSA serves its membership by fostering and maintaining a cooperative, collaborative relationship with its union partners.

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