In some ways, Bozeman still is the wild west. So many companies and individuals want to do projects under the radar. It’s my belief that isn’t OK. The permit process is a good one. While I still have a fight on my hands some days with the building department, they are doing a job which has our overall safety concerned. My hope, at the end of the fight, is they respect why we would take our stance and fight about it. And…sometimes I learn from them (should I have written that in smaller print?)
I’ve seen too many situations where a building inspection would have helped save the owner thousands of dollars. Costly mistakes, discovered years later, are more costly mistakes. I often get in situations, where being a licensed architect, and knowing the code related to an illegal apartment loses the job for us. Often the solution, perhaps even discussion, upsets the owner. And…while I feel we can really help the client, they have to want that solution.
We bid all of our work to meet and in many cases exceed the code. When asked to work below the code, we won’t do it. It doesn’t serve the client or any future inhabitants of the building. Instead of looking at the permits as a ‘requirement’ foisted upon us, we take the approach that the process is one that helps us fine tune our skills and give the customer a second set of eyes to assure them that the project is complete and safe.