I never get permits for any of my home improvement projects but after discovering that I could get some engineering consulting along with my little orange window sign, I decided to do it. Of course, the fact that I was planning on constructing a 32 x 20' building less then 40' from a main roadway made this seem like the kind of project I should let the County know about.
So not being a professional or having blueprints or real plans of any kind, I simply handed in a couple of my Google Sketch-Up printouts, a rough materials list, and a scrap of paper with a little drawing on it. That apparently was enough for them and they approved my application. When I picked up the permit down at the Courthouse (and handed over $80 of my hard-earned money), I made an appointment for a consultation. And that brings us up to today.
I had a great conversation with an older guy, Bill, who looked at a couple of my drawings. He was really cool and took the time to understand my ideas as if he was actually enjoying looking at them. As a matter of fact, everyone at the Courthouse has been this way on my couple of visits. So we went through, step by step, and talked about the depth of my footers, the size and spacing of roof beams, how I should create windbreaks to prevent updrafts, and lots of other things.
Bill could have blown me off and stuck to a hard line of "we can't help you design it for liability reasons" but he didn't. We spent about 40 minutes together - me the novice do-it-yourselfer and he the experienced public servant and engineer. I've never had such a pleasant experience interacting with government.
But anyway, now I am fully armed with confidence that I can accomplish this project. I think I might be able to get started next weekend - should be fun!