Identifying Permit Issues
With many projects, permits will play a great role in project completion and success. One of the key steps in ensuring permits are handled properly and timely is to develop a detailed project timeline early and identify areas where permits and/or regulations may be in play.
Doing this in advance allows project managers time to secure the proper permits and deal with the appropriate parties before the project steps start developing.
To ensure complex project success, the most important step is to develop a response plan or mechanism for permit issues and to have flexible planning and design. This helps project managers to minimize impact of potential permit issues, especially when dealing with uncertainty.
Permit issues can impact the cost, schedule, and scope of a project, as well as affect stakeholder’s topics. Additionally, financing may be dependent on the project manager’s ability to minimize schedule and cost growth related to these permit issues.
By identifying permit issues early, project managers can control more of the project factors and is recommended in order to avoid costly outcomes of the project.
When to Identify Critical Permit Issues
To ensure efficiency, a permit issues plan should be developed at the early stages of the project plan, ideally before any project areas are solidified and are therefore irreversible. Once project steps are finalized, the flexibility of the project manager to adapt and handle permit issues is compromised and can cause larger issues down the road.
The ideal time for a project manager to evaluate permit issues is as soon as they possibly can to get ahead. If the permits are not available right away, the project manager must be sure that the project design is flexible enough to change is needed.
Steps in Identifying Permit Issues
Information gathered on the overall project, as well as the project map and defined critical success factors provide valuable insight for the project manager into permit issues that can potentially have negative impact on the cost/schedule/scope of the project.
Additionally, permit issues may be identified in a risk analysis format. The use of a risk analysis report on the project to identify potential permit issues can minimize permit impact on the schedule and allows the project manager to assign design and planning resources accurately to fast-track project steps.
The early identification of permit issues can also be used as due diligence in creating a strong relationship with the permitting organization. There is much benefit for project managers to open a dialogue on how different permitting groups can work as a team to minimize the negative impact of the permit process, while also allowing these permitting groups to share their main concerns with the project manager and project team as a whole.
The main steps in this process are as follows:
- From the mapping and planning process and identified outcomes. Identify the main permit issues that need to be resolved before the design of the project can be completed and project steps can be started.
- Discuss the potential big regulatory issues with the associated parties and use a flexible mapping design to minimize the impact of potential areas of negative impact with the permitting agencies.
- It is essential to have dialogue with the permitting agencies to understand their main concerns and work together to find a solution.
- Connect with the permitting agencies early into the project timeline regarding permits to communicate and coordinate submissions and approve schedules.
- Investigate the potential for phased permitting, multiple reviews at the same time, etc.
- Make sure that submissions are completed entirely and include all necessary information.
Permit issues should not cause any real issues for project managers. So long as the project managers ensure they take the necessary steps to coordinate with the permitting agencies.
The first concern and action of the project manager when handling permit issues is to develop a flexible project plan that can be changed if permits demand so.
A general rule of thumb is to connect and open dialogue with permitting agencies as early as possible to avoid potential issues later in the project. It is essential that the project leaders listen to the concerns and voices of the permitting agencies, and work together to ensure success.
Lastly, ensuring all required information is included in submissions to avoid delays is an easy yet overlooked step.