Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our Stamp Collection

No, we’re not turning into philatelists, those are the folks who collect the lovable, lick-able postage stamps issued by the post office.  We’re just trying to collect the multitude of city and county approval “stamps” required on our architectural drawings before we can begin construction.  They can be as difficult to obtain as a special edition 1 cent stamp from the earliest days of the USPS. So that you might benefit from our learning experience (should you ever decide to build or permit something) here are a few “stamp collecting” tips:

Here are the 4 stamps we've collected so far
THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM - Show up at the city planning office early, 15 minutes before they open is best.  You want to get the planners while they are still in good spirits before they’ve been crushed by cubical claustrophobia and inundated with general contractors, architects and engineers.  Besides, for every hour after opening you show up, you’ll probably have to wait three times as long to get your turn at the counter.

GO INTO YOUR SONG & DANCE – You can’t just present your plans you have to SELL them!  The truth is you are awarded or NOT awarded the coveted stamps sometimes based, in large part, on the whims of the planners you happen to get at the counter.  In fact, after a few rounds of “when did she tell you this?” and “why did he tell you that?” one of the planners readily confessed, “at least we’re consistent in our inconsistencies!”

MANNERS COUNT – The people behind the counter may hold all the power but don’t forget that they are still people.  They appreciate a friendly smile and a sincere hello and a self-deprecating demeanor.  Anyone who has been through the permitting process knows this.  That’s why you will see even the most seasoned architect or the burliest contractor act like humbled, bashful kids when they show up to the counter vying for their stamps.

DON’T GIVE UP OR GIVE IN – Part of the battle is being insistent, YOU know that what you want to do makes sense, your job is to convince THEM.

We have followed all these handy tips and STILL we sit waiting to get four more stamps needed to complete our collection. Here is one more tip; you have to go in order. In our case, CCDC’s waiting on Mechanical and Plumbing, Mechanical and Plumbing is waiting on Health and Health has put us off for a few days because of other “minor” projects ahead of us.  Hopefully by early next week we will have the whole thing “licked!”

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