Compliance is an unpleasant topic that few people like talking about. But, in reality, compliance and code enforcement protect the public and the environment. Permits are an essential part of land improvements, no matter whether you’re adding on to your personal home, building a subdivision or designing a new shopping mall.

Permits are generally used to record a government or municipality’s approval for a project, assuming the builder follows permit requirements for compliance. Let’s take a look at why permits are so important and how surveyors can play a role in the permitting process.

Why Permits Matter
We know it’s tough, and often difficult, to follow permitting requirements. Permitting often involves added time, cost and effort to your project. Just like paying your taxes, permitting might not be the most fun thing in the world, but it’s essential to keep our country running smoothly and safely.

Permits are essential for three main reasons.

1. Public Safety
Do you like walking into a building without worrying about the ceiling falling down? How about trusting that a toilet will flush or that a light switch won’t electrocute you? That’s the power of permitting in action.

When it comes to land use, permits ensure land is developed in a safe, reliable way. During the permitting process, land is checked to ensure it’s safe for improvements and free of any potential dangers to human health. Nobody enjoys dealing with permits, but they can mean the difference between building a successful subdivision and the expense of tearing down a menace to public health.

2. Environmental Protection
Permits don’t just protect the health of humans. They also protect the health of flora and fauna. While human safety is paramount, it’s just as important to protect our natural resources. Permitting ensures environmental resources are as protected as possible.

Compass Consultants regularly works with clients who need to build per environmental regulations. In addition to predicting potential environmental impact, we work with our clients to help meet even the strictest permitting requirements.

3. Lessen Legal Liability
If you don’t like getting sued, you need a permit. Permits ensure land use is correct and legal. During the permitting process, land ownership, boundaries and other important information about a piece of land are legitimized.

Surveying and Permits
Need a permit? There’s a good chance you’ll run into a surveyor. Surveyors typically work with commercial land developers looking to build major subdivisions, although they occasionally work with individual homeowners on items such as additions.

If you’re in commercial land development, you’ll likely partner up with a surveyor on a plat. A plat is one of the many documents necessary to receive a permit to improve the land.

While building a plat, your surveyor will check zoning and code regulations, ensuring you’re able to build your improvement in the desired location. The surveyor may also need to:

+ Prove tax payments are up to date on the property
+ Run a historic preservation review
+ Record the plat with your local land office

Remember that a surveyor can’t give you legal counsel. If you run into a hitch during the platting process, you may need to consult with a lawyer.

The Bottom Line
Permits are a necessary requirement that keep us safe. Although regular homeowners are unlikely to need a surveyor to get a permit, commercial developers may need the expertise of a surveyor. When in doubt, contact your friendly neighborhood surveyor for a quality plat that helps you meet permitting requirements.