Over-the-counter Permits


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Jun 6, 2024
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One of the low hanging fruits for improving our permitting process would be to implement over-the-counter (OTC) permits. So far we are wanting to pursue like-for-like windows and doors and we are looking into the feasibility of an OTC re-roof permit. What other OTC permits do other jurisdictions have and have found success with?
Aspen, Colorado, United States
Our OTC permits consist of Mechanical, Plumbing, re-roofs and some fire code permits. I think it works well for people and is such a faster process/turn around.
I've obtained over the counter permits in the past, mainly for small work and nothing too major or extensive to my house or property. I'm glad they make it easy for people to obtain them, and wish all permitting offices to have easier to obtain permits like with over the counter permits.
Over-the-counter permits are quick and simple. I frequently get permits for minor electrical work, like replacing outlets or installing ceiling fans, or permits for plumbing repairs, such as fixing leaks or replacing fixtures, and for small projects like fence installation or window replacements. Permits for work like these are approved quickly at the counter.
We process over the counter (more online submittals than paper anymore) for replacement garage door, window, doors, reroof, roof over, hvac changeouts, with a quick review during processing by the permit technicians for most of these (checking Florida Product Approval). It opens up a lot of time for plan reviewers due to the high volume of these permit types. Manufactures specs must be at the jobsite for the inspection.
We offer OTC permits for the following:
Residential Mechanical
Residential Plumbing
Residential Re-Roof
Residential Demo

OTC permits are great for the customers because of the quick turnaround. Sometimes customers use jargon that us permit techs aren't familiar with on an application, but a quick chat with our building official usually clears up any confusion.
Current list of OTC permits in LA City
Our over the counter permits are:
Re-roof (residential and commercial)
Mechanical (commercial permit cost is based on valuation)
Solar Installation (commercial permit cost is based on valuation)

Once I receive a complete packet, I usually get these issued within a day or two.
LA City also offers E-permits you can file online, pay and have your permit within an hour assuming no plans are required.
In LA, while there are E-permits that you can pay for your permit and get it quick, the site itself can be hit or miss for users. Plus they would also need to make an appointment to meet a clerk in person to start the process. It would be easier to users to be able to just walk-in over the counter while the city manages to fix the site.

For the City of LA, if you are looking for a permit for window change out (like for like), that would be with Express. You could try to apply for the permit on their online website at www.ladbs.org but if that doesn't work, you can schedule an appointment with them. Same goes for the re-roof permit. They are usually done quick unless there are certain clearances that need to be done before obtaining the permit.
We offer OTC permits for the following:
Residential Mechanical - we ask for the AHRI Certificate
Residential Re-Roof - we ask for the FL Product Approvals
Residential Plumbing & Electrical (minimal work like repipes, rewire, panel change out, restore power)

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