If you’re not already undertaking a renovation of your home you may not be aware that the City of Austin’s residential building permit process has changed, and unfortunately those changes have led to record wait times for permit approval. There’s currently such a backlog of applications that it can take upwards of 30-60+ days to receive permit approval, and, sadly, there’s only so much you or your contractor can do to help the situation.

The most important thing you can do before beginning a residential renovation is to double-check for any open or expired permits associated with your property. Those kinds of unresolved permits can slow down the process of getting approval for a new permit, even if the new work is unrelated to the open permit.

Fortunately, the City of Austin makes permit searching for prior permits easy with their Austin City Connection website. Just visit that link, enter as much information as you have available – the address of your home is often enough – and hit “Submit.” A full list of permits – open, closed, expired, and in review – will be returned. Professional remodeling firms can provide insight and guidance on how best to tackle getting issues with open permits resolved.

Beyond clearing expired and open permits, the single most important item in getting a new permit approved is to submit the most complete and accurate application possible. Your friends at Watermark & Company have the the knowledge and skills to generate rock solid permit applications that will be approved even in this less-than-ideal state of affairs.

The final thing you need when seeking a remodeling permit from the City of Austin right now is an abundance of patience. The hard-working folks down at Plan Review are doing the best they can and are well aware of the frustrations the current situation are causing. Unfortunately, they’re so swamped that even getting a chance to return calls left by curious homeowners and impatient contractors is difficult for them. We appreciate all these folks do to help make sure that all of the projects in our fair city are thoroughly vetted for safety and compliance.

So when it’s time to remodel, be sure to include the current permit delays in your own mental schedule of how you want your project to proceed and when you aim for it to be completed. It’s a difficult time we find ourselves in, but with forethought, understanding, and a team of professional remodelers on your side, the renovation of your dreams will happen. Just maybe a couple of weeks later than we’d all prefer.