5 Building Permit Questions with Chicago PM Mary

Valeria Macias

Posted by Valeria Macias

This week we sat down with Mary Thies, Project Manager, from our Chicago office and asked her a few questions regarding her permit expediting experience.

1. How long have you been a permit expediter and what is your area of expertise?
I have been an expediter with Burnham for a little over a year and had about a year of permit expediting experience prior to joining the Burnham team. My role doesn't specifically focus on one type of permit, however I mostly handle building permits for interior renovation projects, both commercial and residential. I also work on sign permits and a variety of BACP and CDOT permits in the City.

2. When working on a signage application what is the best approach with initial submittals?
I would say the most important thing is to ensure that all measurements listed on the online application, supplemental application, and sign drawings are accurate and match up. If any of the many specific measurements listed on any of the application items do not match, it could mean another review cycle, adding a lot of time to the application process.

3. If you had to give one piece of advice on the building permit application process, what would it be? 
Always make sure you reference municipality resources to ensure that everything required is included in the drawings and application forms when you initially submit. If you have everything (or almost everything) you need from the start, the review process will be shorter and easier in the long run.

4. Today, what is your biggest challenge and how are you solving it?
I would say the biggest challenge is learning to meet the different expectations clients have, because everyone has different preferences and backgrounds. I think the best way to achieve this is to get to know the client as much as possible from the start, make sure you are regularly communicating in whatever method they prefer, and never leave them hanging.

5. When you're not working, what do you enjoy doing with your spare time?
I enjoy going to different bars & restaurants in the City with my friends and family, spending time at my family summer cottage, reading, traveling, and seeing live music.

Do you have questions regarding building permits in the City of Chicago? Reach out to our team for assistance!

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