Construction projects can be burdensome when considering the phases involved before they are completed. In order to meet specific building codes, a construction design has to be reviewed and approved by relevant authorities, and such standards may differ from one agency to the other. A review and approval process is a multi-agency task that could take several weeks to complete. But, oftentimes, engineering reviews and approvals done by certified MEP Engineers run smoothly and take little time to pass through agencies.

In this article, we take you through the review and approval process in your construction endeavors, and also highlight the stakeholders (agencies) involved in the processes.


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 Importance of Engineering Review and Approval 

The importance of the engineering review and approval of construction projects needs not be overlooked when initiating, planning and executing constructions. Apart from code enforcements from various agencies such as the building department, review and approval process may waive exorbitant costs that could be incurred due to mistakes in the building process. Also, construction plans are often on tight schedules whereby even a day's delay could cause huge inconveniences; therefore, reviews and approvals will enhance a smooth flow of the construction process as the engineers will have assessed the feasibility of the plan and the availability of resources to complete it.

The second consideration is the code enforcement agencies that advocate for the safety of the public by enacting relevant codes. As thus, construction plans have to be reviewed and given permits to proceed. Having your designs go through these processes will evade possible penalties and costly mistakes, among other repercussions.  

The Review and Approval Process

This process is preceded by the design phase that is often led by engineers and architects. Alternatively, developers may have a construction plan to pursue, which, still, has to go through the review and approval of the MEP Engineers before it goes to the relevant state authorities for a final review and approval. Engineers would ideally lay a site plan according to the developer’s desires which will serve as a guideline throughout the construction phase. A design completed by engineers is half way to completion as it needs no multiple reviews because the engineer’s signature will have provided a gateway.

Engineer’s design is regarded as solid towards the feasibility and success of the construction project. The good thing about the engineer’s design phase is that engineers may form a synergy with other professionals such as the architects and land surveyors to produce an all-round design that achieves the goals of the project. It’s a guarantee that such design will run smoothly through the review and approval stages of agencies.

The review process typically go through different stages such as planning & zoning, development services, surveyors and building department.

Planning & zoning: a design plan will be reviewed in line with land use applications. The agencies will maintain the development codes in the review.

Development services: technical studied will be undertaken and these may include the drainage study and soil analysis of the site.

Surveyor assessment: there will be a map team that studies minor and major subdivision maps. They may issue certificate of amendments. This team checks the accuracy of the map and ensures that all the requirements are met.

Building department: this department check the plans, issues permits and inspects, among other roles. Other review agencies as aforementioned may have their own review requirements.

Which Projects Go Through the Review and Approval Process?

Almost all projects have to go through the review and approval process depending on their scale. Other agencies exclude minor projects. Among others, the following projects should be taken to the process:

  • Residential and commercial developments
  • Stormwater development
  • Industrial development
  • Multi-family development

What are the agencies involved in construction design reviews and approvals?

Depending on the nature of the construction, there could be a number of review and approval agencies and these include the following:

  • Building department
  • Health department
  • State department of transport
  • Utility companies
  • Water department
  • And many more

Each of these agencies may have own standards, reviews and approval requirements. Oftentimes, the review and approval agencies have a team of engineers, designers, architectures and other professionals such as land surveyors who help in approving what they regard as the best construction design plan compliant of all enforced building codes.

What happens after the review and approval stages?

The developers and contractors shall be given a green light to proceed with the construction project. After the review team is done with the design, developers may be requested to pay for the review fees before the outcomes are dispatched. Once the plan has been reviewed and approved, no amendments shall be made without prior permission from the relevant agencies. Should that need arise, another application has to be filed for the review and approval stages, and, essentially, an engineer’ signature should accompany the justifications of the amendments.

Other stages will follow after the review and approval processes during or after the construction. For instance, inspections may be done after the project has been completed to ensure that it has complied with the design plan. Furthermore, other building codes will be enforceable which include the NFPA 72 about fire safety requirements in buildings.

Wrap up!

Building constructions are completed after a long process of reviews and approvals in accordance with the standards set forth by relevant authorities such as the Department of Buildings. Before the contractors could commence, the design plan has to be approved and relevant fees have to be paid for the permits. The process, however, can run smoothly if the designs have been done by a team of MEP Engineers and other designers. They can take over the construction administrative tasks needed for the project to find a gateway to a successful completion.

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