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Foundation Repair Permitting Demystified (Top 4 Q’s)

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In the unpredictable zigzag of the foundation repair timeframe, permitting is the great mystery when it comes to foundation repair construction – just like that damnable cryptic Maya Calendar, permitting often feels like the end of the world.

It’s not. We promise.

Dalinghaus Movie Pitch – So, we got Christopher Nolan shooting a cross between Tenant and Inception thriller about a permitting specialist working for a foundation repair company who is desperately trying to unravel the shrouded mystery of the permitting timeframe. There’s a copious amount of coffee. Phone calls. Fists pounding desks. Long walks in the rain…

Okay, so after mapping out two whiteboards, I have a cracked the code.

In this article, we are going to cover common questions of permitting, demystifying the process while simultaneously outlining the space-time continuum.  We will cover:

  •   How long permitting takes
  •   Permitting Prices
  •   Stupid Fees
  •   When you can schedule your project

How long does engineering take?

Engineering can take anywhere between 2-3 weeks, sometimes more, never less.

How long does permitting take?

Permitting can take anywhere between 2-6 months, depending on the city. 

The truth is there’s a lot of red tape we have to dance through depending on what side of the bed the city woke up on and what they ate for breakfast. City permitting departments are like the DMV, but worse. Whatever drug is opposite of speed – they take that.

How much are the permit fees?

 Permitting fees are generally between $1000-$4000, depending on the city, county, if their majesty slept on a pier under their mattress that night.

In all seriousness, it really depends on if the engineer is in bed with the city. Canoodling ensures everyone gets more money except for you – which would prove a major plot point in our motion picture.   

Okay, really, it also depends on the type of permitting: geotechnical or construction.

There are usually 2 fees: Plan Check Fee and the Final Permit Fee (some cities require a 3rd review by the Geotechnical & Materials Engineering Division (GMED).

What are other BS Permit fees associated with Engineering and Permitting?

  •   Some Big Brother cities enact recycling programs that require dumpsters from specific companies (the canoodlers) or require us to use specific dumpsites. Yes, the fee for the dumpster is passed on to the customer (aka you).
  • Most projects that are engineered & permitted require “special inspections.” The customer signs a separate contract with the special inspector and pays them directly.
  •   LA and Mission Viejo County require a separate review of the soils report and plans by the Geotechnical & Materials Engineering Division. The fee for this review has been running an additional $1,200 for LA and $300 for Mission Viejo. (*Note – Numbers are subject to change, but not by us, by the County)

Learn more – How Are Deteriorated Sill Plates Fixed?

When can I schedule my project?

You can schedule your project after your plans have been approved by the city & the permit has been issued.

No – you cannot pass go and collect $200. You have to wait, which means we have to wait

A common misconception is that Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has single-handedly conceived the ideas of permitting fees and engineering fees.

We. Are. On. Your. Team. We hate waiting just as much as you do. Unfortunately, complaining to us about your timeline doesn’t hurry up the process.

We wish it did! Then we’d have a call center open 24/7 just for the complaints that fuel the permitting process.

Things to do that might hurry up the process –

  •   Call your city’s permitting office
  •   Email your city’s permitting office
  •   Send flowers to your city’s permitting office
  •   Picket your city’s permitting office with signs reading (#Pushpermitting)

How far out are we scheduled for projects or what is our production calendar backlog?

Our goal is to have our backlog out 6-8 weeks. This can fluctuate a bit but is an accurate timeframe.   

Foundation Repair Timeframe

For a more holistic view of the entire foundation repair process, be sure to read our blog article Foundation Repair Timeframe (from Inspection to Completion).  

Don’t let the permitting time frame dissuade you from pursuing foundation repair. All great things take time. And, just like with all big projects: the sooner you start, the sooner you finish. 

If you live in SoCal or Central Arizona and would like a FREE foundation inspection, click the link below –


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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