HOA and Permit - Requirements
Developing plans for HOA’s and City / County agencies requires a thorough understanding of each organization’s rules and regulations. Each HOA has its own set of rules and regulations which differ from other HOA’s. The rules and regulations may be 5 to 20 pages long. It is important for the landscape designer to review the HOA rules and regulations prior to developing designs or submitting the final design for review.
The process of getting approval from a HOA, City or County Agency may require details such as plant names, low water plant percentage, lawn size percentages, hardscape percentages, structural elevations, plot plans, utility schematics, irrigation, drainage, material selections, set-backs, engineering, land survey, etc.
It is also important to have a good understanding of the costs associated with the construction of your project as you are developing your project prior to submitting your design to the HOA or pulling permits. If you submit your design prior to receiving estimates for your project you may be in for a major disappointment. The costs may be well over your budget creating a situation that requires considerable changes and modifications to your design. This can be frustrating and disappointing due to loss of time, additional design fees and having to redesign your project.
A conceptual design gets you started on your way to visualizing and developing your project. This helps you understand the basic layout including size and location of hardscape, softscape and structures. This should not be confessed with a more detailed design that is usually required for HOA and permits. The complexity of your project will dictate the level of design requirements. Structures (patio covers, retaining walls, fire places, custom outdoor kitchens, custom water features, etc.) require many details and could involve engineering and land survey as well.
The more details in your design the better. This allows both the home owner and the contractor to be on the same page and reduce misunderstandings that can also create additional expenses, delays and frustration.
A pathway to success may include the following:
1- A complete design that provides enough information (visual designs and specifications) to receive an accurate and complete estimate that meets both the HOA and City/County rules and regulations.
- Engineering and Land Survey may be required
2- The home owner completely understands estimates on the cost of the project and secure funding.
3- Submit plans and HOA application to the HOA for approval.
- Deposits are sometimes requires.
- Approval usually takes 2 to 4 weeks - does not include corrections or additional design work
4- Selection of your contractor.
5- Submit plans to the City/County for permits.
- Some permits can be obtained over the counter but others may take 1 to 2 weeks)
Each project is different and may have its own unique design requirements. It is important for you to have a good understanding of the details of your project and then convey those details to your contractor. Details should be in writing and provide both visual designs and specifications. Material selections and colors may be a part of the HOA approval process.
In some cases special order materials or products may need to be ordered prior to starting your project.