5 Building Permit Questions with San Francisco Project Manager Laurence

Valeria Macias

Posted by Valeria Macias

This week we sat down with Laurence Solis, Project Manager, from our San Francisco office and asked him a few questions regarding his permit expediting experience.

How long have you been a permit expediter and what is your area of expertise?
I have been a permit expediter for about a year and half now. My expertise is in commercial tenant improvements.

When working on a commercial tenant improvement, what is the best approach with initial submittals?
The best approach when working on a commercial tenant improvement is to know your project. Not all commercial tenant improvements are the same, each one differs from project to project. Though, it may fall under the same category it does not mean the project does not have a unique twist to it. By knowing what you are working with, can help you on the very next step.

If you had to give one piece of advice on the commercial tenant improvement process what would it be?
Aside to get to know your project and what it consist of, the Due diligence must be accurate. Having depth and accuracy in your research will help out tremendously. I make sure timing is documented correctly as everything is time dependent. By researching carefully, you will know the timeline, the routes, and required documents for your project. For example, making sure your project is allowed to construct that particular zone/neighborhood of the City. Some cities have a special requirement before allowing some business to put up shop. This is key because it can make or break the clients project. Planning is concurrent or prior; as this can set clients project back by a great deal.

Today, what’s your biggest challenge and how are you solving it?
Today, my biggest challenge is working with certain business zones in the City with formula retails. Although, it is not impossible to have an approval for those businesses to operate, the length and research you need just to proceed with the proper channels is draining. There is no one way to solve the issue but what I find that helps is to be respectful and understanding at all cost with the City’s Staff. You may not get all the information you need at once, but be patient. The City’s Staff will remember you and though your attitude should not play into consideration of providing information, it does play into their helpfulness with you. Would you want to help someone who is constantly demanding and frustrated?

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing with your spare time?
When I am not working, I am either with my kids and wife at some outdoor adventure or gaming.

Do you have questions regarding a project in San Francisco or the Bay Area? Reach out to our team for assistance! 
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