epermits and the corona virus pandemic

ePermits and the Corona Virus Pandemic

As states adapt to corona virus emergencies, permit processing is changing daily.

The past few weeks have been anything but business as usual.

As Covid-19 (aka corona virus) continues its exponential growth across the United States and around the world, business owners and construction crews are left wondering if long-planned projects will continue to move forward.

The answer, as with most Covid-19 questions, almost entirely depends on where you live. Emergency policies change not just state by state, but even county by county in some regions.

Express Permits, which is based in Northeast Ohio but has services available in all 48 contiguous states, can help you identify what’s going on in your area and remain in front of local regulations no matter how fluid the situation you may find yourself in.

For example, in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, in-person permit counters are closed because of the states’ stay-at-home orders, but online forms remain available. Likewise, all board and commission meetings are postponed until further notice.

Cincinnati is allowing for limited drop-off services while the state of Pennsylvania is offering businesses – including builders – to petition for permission to continue operations.

This alone could grind some projects to a halt, especially if you are not familiar with how online applications and approvals work. We’ve discussed some of the perils before! While online submissions can be handy, they do come with their own problems.

Of course, all of this could change daily. With Indianapolis declared a “hot spot” Sunday by the U.S. Surgeon General, expect tighter restrictions to go in place throughout the Hoosier state.


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Nationally, the story is the same.

Across the United States, building permit applications took a steep decline in February but in some areas have surged through March, regaining most of the losses from early 2020. As the weather warms and builders better understand the changing health needs of doing business in today’s climate, construction project numbers are returning to states that are allowing it.

In California, where people have been under non-essential travel and gathering measures since March 20, the statewide order allows for construction to continue on residential, commercial and industrial projects.

Workers doing the building along with those in “operation, inspection and maintenance” are all exempt from stay-at-home orders. And throughout California, many crews are busy building places where thousands of homeless families hope to soon take shelter.

“I am entirely supportive of the need to continue to build during this time period,” Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) told the Los Angeles Times. “The construction industry is adapting to the new normal and figuring out how to build the shelters, navigation centers, affordable housing and other types of housing that we need. We can’t slow down.”

In some areas, however, construction has ground to a halt. Take Boston for example.

Two weeks ago, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh ordered a stop to all construction projects in the city.

The decision put a pause on an estimated billion dollars worth of projects, leaving half-completed buildings dotting the metropolitan area. More than 10,000 workers were furloughed until the order is lifted.

Clearly, regions throughout the country are handling things differently, and things are changing quickly. However, through online services, not just building permits but inspections and other city services may remain available if you know where to look and how to do it right.

The bottom line: Don’t throw up your hands or give up. This is where the experts at Express Permits come in. We will research the current situation in your jurisdiction, find solutions, then guide your application through the process.

Building regulations and permit processing is confusing during normal times, and these are not normal times. Express Permits can navigate you through this fog of confusion and keep you on your timeline.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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