Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why does "picking up a permit" SOUND so EASY? Part I

Ring, Ring......
BUILDING DEPT LADY: "Hello, Building Department, May I help you?"
ME:  "YES!! ME!! You can help ME!"
This is where I introduce myself as a demolition contractor trying to get all the information possible to make ONE TRIP to your office and WALK OUT WITH WHAT INTENDED TO ACCOMPLISH (Secure a PERMIT, from the........PERMIT OFFICE).  I tell you all about my project and then you tell me to.........go to.......... a website.  A website that never tells me the complete story. Or fully explains the Fees. Or the little requirements that slipped right by the poor web guy tasked with teasing out the excruciating volumes of details that are required to get a demolition permit from this entity.  
ME:  "But MS Building Department Lady, YOU WANT TO HELP ME NOW, RIGHT? So are you going to rely on the website to tell me everything, and I mean everything that I will need to get a permit from your jurisdiction?
(ANNOYED) BUILDING DEPT LADY:  "Do you want me to give you the web address?"
ME:  "Would you mind it so much if you could go to the website and read me the requirements?"
(REALLY ANNOYED BUILDING DEPT LADY): "I just can't do that. We can't get on the internet here and I have another call coming in"
GETTING DESPERATE ME:  "Anything you could tell me would be helpful - anything, I can't get on the internet and I don't have much time or money and I really just want to know, specifically, what it would take for me to come with all documents necessary and walk out of your office with this little piece of paper that will give my company permission to move on with all of our lives"
EXASPERATED BUILDING DEPT LADY: "I know you need to fill out the application, get a site plan and a letter from the owner and a rodent letter.  It costs $200".
ME: "Are you sure that's it? That doesn't sound very comprehensive. Are you sure that's all you got? Cause I'm about to have me a "I KNOW MORE THAN YOU BUILDING DEPARTMENT LADY FACEOFF":

QUESTION ONE:  "Is the......... application for demolition and new building construction on the same application - because if it is the same application IT IS CONFUSING.  These two operations should never be confused.  They are so very much the opposite. If there is one application for both of these operations we call this kind of Permit Office........."AMATEUR". And add 2 hours to your day there, because you will have at least one permit office person insist that you need a General Contractor's License to fill in the little box for that contractor's number since you are submitting an application that is submitted when people build a new structure.  And Demolition Specialty Contracting is EXCLUDED from having to have a General Contractor's License (here in Georgia). You will go round and round and then.......win. And move on to Section 2 of the Application......

QUESTION TWO:  THE APPLICATION SAYS I NEED A......Business License number  and EXPIRY to get a permit here? But invariably it is January and God and everyone's Business License
just expired on December 31?  And the Business License department doesn't renew the old one until usually around......MARCH.  WHAT NOW BROWN COW? Wait till then??

QUESTION THREE:  It says I need to take four photos of the *&^#box that I've been hired to demolish so the Historical Society can review it?  REVIEW IT FOR WHAT? DETERIORATING LEAD PAINT? ASBESTOS?  EVIDENCE THAT COMPLETELY INEFFICIENT AND SUB PAR DWELLINGS SHOULD BE SAVED?  I'm all in for saving historical structures, but come on. Check your CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER log, one of your very own departments is begging for this to be......demolished!

QUESTION FOUR: Your application here says I need 4 sets of site plans to scale to submit for the permit.  What it doesn't explain is that it can't be you pulling out the old ruler and marking up the tax record Map real nice and purty.  You have to spend money here. Or charge your client money you neglected to educate them about because you never got this far with "MS BUILDING DEPT LADY". She hung up on your ass like two questions ago!  Here is the drill down, the clarification, the explanation:  "Four sets of Demolition Site plans provided by a licensed surveyor or registered architect showing location of trees (greater than 6" DBH) (like you know what THAT means) and topography lines and silt fence and tree save fence locations"  This costs like $30 in printing by the way.....just put it in your Google Notes to remember to charge your client.....more money. They love that too!

QUESTIONS FIVE AND SIX:  If it's on sewer what do you want to do about it?  OR what we call the STUMPER:   "What do you want us to produce if it has a septic system?"
Answer:  JUST a letter from a company that says they've pumped the septic system.  Hmmmm, that is going to cost SOMEBODY some money!  Your client is going to *&^% in his pants when you start adding up this bill.........to get the permit.  Not including "FEES".


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Here are .......The Rules.......for Hiring a Demolition Contractor

Image result for the rules

Hiring A Demolition Contractor......The Rules

1.  Get an asbestos inspection. Get Southern Demolition and Environmental to conduct it for you, get an accredited inspector to get it for you, get a reputable company to get it for you. Get this if you are serious about pursuing a real number.  Try to avoid any contractor that will "turn the other way" and suggest a way to 'get rid of the asbestos'.  If you touch it or you don't know what it is and you have it demolished, you are possibly exposing yourself, your workers, your neighbors to asbestos. And that's bad. You can't see it, and it may linger for a couple of days after demo, so don't do it. Yes, it's extra money. But do it anyways. Do it right and never look back. You hear of people getting away with "it", but they have broken the solid waste act law.

2.  If you are getting the demolition permit, or you've hired Southern Demolition and Environmental to get the permit or a permit expediter to get the permit, make sure a realistic timeline is adhered to.  It is hard to schedule demolition when one doesn't know when the permit will be released by the jurisdiction. AND, once a permit is released and in-hand, it doesn't mean that the moment of demolition is here!  Make sure the following are built in to the timeline for realistic expectation:  
  1. Rodent Letter received
  2. Asbestos Abatement Clearance Letter is received
  3. Evidence that a Pre Construction/Pre Demolition Meeting with inspector from demolition permit issuance jurisdiction has been held or scheduled
  4. Silt fence/Construction Exit is installed 
  5. Gas is killed 
  6. 811 utility locate is active and utility companies have properly responded
  7. Power is disconnected 
  8. Water is available to use for the course of demolition
There are even more, per permitting jurisdiction, for example:

  1. Evidence the septic tank has been pumped
  2. Permit box installed and Notice of Issuance of Building Permit Sign installed
  3. Letter from utility companies that utilities have been removed
  4. More stuff that public permit offices think of.......

3. Review the site plan, proposal and expectation with the contractor. If you need an extra load of gravel because the construction exit isn't worthy, it costs extra.  Utilize contractors that have systems, insurance, the ability to maintain a bond (this signifies credit worthiness).  Best price is not the "lowest price".  Ask low bidder where the material will be disposed of.  If the contractor can't offer to track the waste, then don't "waste" any time on the contractor. Illegal dumping is prevalent and if the lowest price is too good to be true, it most likely is.  

4.  Don't hesitate to call Southern Demolition and Environmental at 404-478-7142 for a ballpark and an outline for realistic expectations based on the environmental and wrecking concerns of your project. Our firm is a specialist in Metro Atlanta private and public residential, multi-family and commercial asbestos abatement and demolition projects up to $300,000. Southern Demolition and Environmental understands complexities of Land Disturbance Permits, NPDES Monitoring and our operators hold Level 1 Soil and Erosion Control certifications as well as 10 Hour OSHA training.

5. There is a level of professionalism you can expect from your "demolition guy" AND, last but not least, that "guy" may be a........... girl!  Southern Demolition and Environmental is a certified FBE by the City of Atlanta and DBE by the Ga Dept of Transportation.  We have a staff of estimators and projects managers that can guide your project with the RULES above in an effort to economically and feasibly complete your project on your timeline.