Why Permitting Matters

Importance of Team Collaboration Through the Permitting Process

School projects are challenging for so many reasons. Chief among them: Permitting. In Massachusetts, particularly, the simple fact is that good building sites are difficult to come by. Wetlands and other site constraints often restrict development, and many new schools are built on the same sites as the ones they will ultimately replace, resulting in a phased, occupied construction project. School building committees are often faced with a long agenda of community concerns, both programmatic and operational. SMMA has successfully permitted and designed numerous school projects in spite of these issues and constraints, largely by providing an integrated team from day one.

Because of SMMA’s multidisciplinary structure, project architects, civil engineers, and landscape architects work side by side every day. This allows our team to address every challenge in the permitting process from multiple perspectives, resulting in a well-coordinated outcome for our clients.

Inter-office collaboration among disciplines and multiple areas of expertise allows SMMA to make critical decisions on the spot, rather than discovering late in a project that all aspects had not been properly considered. 

Addressing the Regulatory and Aesthetic

The focus of the permitting process is both regulatory and aesthetic: regulatory in that there is a strict set of bylaws and regulations that must be adhered to, and aesthetic because of the visual and functional aspects that are examined and critiqued. SMMA’s civil engineers address all regulatory aspects of site permitting—including zoning, wetlands, and utilities—while our landscape and design architects provide the best aesthetic and programmatic solutions to the constraints faced in permitting.

Permitting often necessitates design changes, and likewise, design preferences and programmatic desires can influence permitting. SMMA works with clients to achieve their desired goals throughout the permitting phase of the project, without allowing the process to derail their desired outcome.