Being prepared is more than a motto, it’s an approach to successful project review by outside agencies. In almost all architectural projects, we are faced with extensive reviews by City, County, State and in some cases Federal Review agencies, committees, boards or departments. I have heard the complaints from employees and sometimes competitors on how onerous these reviews can be and what a delay they are to projects. I agree that it can be time consuming, but these reviews do not have to be project killers or delays to delivery if the right approach is taken to submitting for them.
Lunz Prebor Fowler Architects has a very specific approach to preparation of submittals. Our first task is to find out exactly what reviews and submissions are going to be involved in order to negotiate a fair contract with our client and consultants. The next step is verification that the consultants that will be involved are aware of the requirements of each submittal, time frames for review and anticipated outcomes from previous submissions. With this data in hand we then assemble a schedule that is realistic, relevant and informative to all parties as to roles, missions and deliverables. Informing the client at all times lets them know that you are organized, thorough and fully aware of the task at hand. Additionally it lets our client know that we are placing their interests first and foremost.
On a recently completed Municipal project that had a very tight time frame for construction, we took a very unique approach. Our project team first met with the Building Department who was issuing the permits and preliminarily reviewed the project in depth and explained the dilemma of the tight time frame. In one to one meetings we were able to thoroughly explain the project parameters and make them a part of the “team” that would be critical to success. Knowing their position and their contribution to our success made them extremely responsive to our needs. We received permits in a very timely manner, inspections as needed and a certificate of occupancy in time to meet the time frame of the Municipal client.
Determination of the review schedule and the delivery of the right documents go hand in hand. As a member of the City’s Planning and Zoning Board I cannot tell you the number of times that an applicant submits minimal information and then comes to the meeting unprepared expecting a Board to just gloss over his application and grant an approval. The success of gaining approvals the first time is embedded in preparation of the application and the presentation before the Board.
As an applicant, Lunz Prebor Fowler Architects prepares a well written formal submission with adequate back-up in either writing or graphic format to fully inform those that are reviewing the request. In cases when we know that the issues coming to a public meeting may be controversial or somewhat inflammatory we go the extra mile. Our firm will hold preliminary meetings with the concerned parties whether it be a neighborhood association, government agency or activist group in order to fully explain our proposal, how we have addressed their concerns and what agreements we can make to change our proposal for the good of both them and our client. Our proactive approach makes the public meetings easier and in most cases has those who may have been against the proposed development get up and speak for the development. Being proactive alleviates the contentious public meetings that become the next day’s headlines and often lead to delays.