Third parties can now
expedite building permits
The city is looking for a few good engineers and architects to help expedite and streamline the building permit approval process.
Dubbed "3PR" for third-party review, the program will give developers of large projects such as high rises, commercial projects and some housing developments the option of getting certified private sector architects and engineers to review their building plans to see if they meet building codes.
"It allows the private sector to take on the overflow beyond that which we are able to accommodate," said city Planning and Permitting Director Eric Crispin. He said his department came up with the idea after the mayor asked him to find a way to reduce the backlog of permits.
The new program is designed to reduce by up to three months the amount of time it takes to have a building permit approved. The department processes 18,000 permits a year.
The third-party architects and engineers would charge the developers for their services.
Crispin said the program will not be limited to the large projects and that small homeowners may also take advantage of it.
"The reality, though, is that the large complex projects are the ones that can absorb that additional costs," Crispin said.
Mayor Jeremy Harris said that third-party review would free up more staff time to the smaller projects.
Crispin said that once architects and engineers who are nationally certified with the International Code Council come forward, they could begin accepting plans as early as a week or two. Architects must also pass a test to demonstrate their knowledge of Honolulu's land-use ordinance. He said that the department would have a list of engineers and architects on hand should builders want to take the third-party review route.
The department will also continue to provide oversight through on-site inspections and quality-control reviews after a building permit is issued. "We have the last say," Crispin said.