Getting ICC Certified: The Story of a Geeky Permit Processor

This is the second part in a four-part series regarding the International Code Council and the role it plays in the construction permitting process. See part one here, part two here, and check back weekly for more. Contact us to learn how our professional ICC Certification can help your business with its permit needs!

Filling out paperwork is few people’s idea of an ideal day.

Government paperwork? No thank you.

Let’s face it. It takes a different mindset to dive into that task fully in tune, fully engaged with what needs to be done.

And that’s why you are looking for permit expediting services from Express Permits’ Tabitha Todd.

After completing the certification process earlier this year, Tabitha has become one of the very few International Code Counsel certified permit technicians in the United States. She is a self-described administrative wonk who likes nothing more than digging out the details and filling in forms correctly.

Exactly what the ICC and her clients are looking for.

ICC permit expeditor Tabitha Todd“My geekiness is I love to do investigation and paperwork,” Tabitha said. “Calculating fees. Processing plans. When I saw what went into this, I knew I was on the right track. I know what I’m doing. The reasoning and the way the ICC has their codes laid out, it fell right into my ballpark.”

The International Code Council develops model codes and standards used in the design, building and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable and affordable structures. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.

Learning these codes takes months of study and a series of online tests. But having a certified ICC leader on staff gives Express Permit the captain to steer their clients through what can be a confusing and time-consuming process.

“The universal codes set by the ICC are out there. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look and how to find them,” Tabitha said. “Each jurisdiction then adds on top of them, but once you have a basic understanding of what’s common to everyone, it expedites the process.”

After ordering the study guide during a Thanksgiving break, it took Tabitha three weeks to complete the three different workbooks. That’s 14 units of study to prepare for the online pretests and in-person tests.

A month and a half later, her whole work world had changed. What sometimes caused her pause and confusion before were now clear roads in which she freely travels.

“We had a permit application we submitted before I started doing the certification, and I didn’t understand where to find the codes,” Tabitha said. “It took a lot of extra time, time that would be better spent helping that client and other clients move forward.

“After the certification, I was filling out a similar application, and it was like, ‘Oh, that’s simple enough.’ My confidence has grown and my work production has grown right along with it. That is a confidence and assuredness I can bring to our clients as well.”

Tabitha is certified for the ICC’s three-year cycle that started in 2015 and has already scheduled her recertification in 2018. Being able to recognize the commonality between what’s needed in different municipalities when it comes to permitting allows her to save her clients a lot of frustration.

“If anything is not completed correctly or is missing, they will just kick it back to you to start over and resubmit,” Tabitha said. “Nobody wants that. Everyone wants to have things done right the first time – especially when you are paying for it – so the faster and cleaner we can turn things around, the happier everyone is.

“And as our company grows, I can impart what I know to others on our team, making our service even that much more complete for our clients. Many of our staff members want to take the certification as well, and I can help them through that process. It helps me grow as a leader as well.”

Through relationships, integrity, professionalism and enthusiasm, Express Permits provides expert knowledge in construction permits and building permit requirements, working alongside businesses to facilitate the path of local regulations and guide companies through the permitting process faster and more efficiently.

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, and with affiliate locations coast to coast, Express Permits’ services are available throughout the United States and select portions of Canada.

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