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What is a Preliminary Design Consultation?

This is a voluntary design conference with Commercial Building Construction plan review staff (typically architectural/life safety examiners, unless other disciplines are requested) to discuss preliminary/schematic design drawings for commercial projects prior to preparation of final construction documents (working drawings, specifications, etc.). It is intended primarily for discussing architectural designs; however, preliminary consultations may be arranged for engineering systems designs.  For site development, the Land Development Division should be contact directly to schedule a meeting.

Residential (single family dwelling) construction projects are not handled through the preliminary design consultation process.

When is a Preliminary Desgin Consultation Required?

Preliminary design consultations are now required for all IgCC Green Building Applications.   The IgCC Green Building Application is available for all new commerical construction and additions 5,000 square feet or more.  

What is the Benefit of Design Consultation?

Preliminary design consultation affords the designer(s) a venue to discuss with code officials the elements of a construction project before the project design reaches the final construction documents.

Developers of projects that are comparatively large or complex in scope, that involve a special use or occupancy, or that constitute an enlargement of, or change of use in, an existing building are likely to benefit the most from the preliminary design consultation.

Who May Request a Design Consultation?

Anyone contemplating a commercial building construction project may request a preliminary design consultation. However, meetings involving the project architect/engineers tend to be the most productive, thus, it is highly recommended that the design professional(s) attend the meetings.

It is not mandatory to have a preliminary design consultation.

RESTAURANT OWNERS request the Restaurant Welcome Packet!

What is the Consultation Process?

Consultations must be scheduled by calling a Permit Technician at 311 in Montgomery County or (240) 777-0311 outside of Montgomery County. In order to provide the best service, you will be asked to complete a Design Consultation Request Form. Please complete the form with as much detail as possible and return to the Permit Technician.

Since there are a limited number of available slots on the weekly consultation calendar, early scheduling of appointments is recommended.

Normally, you will be discussing your architectural design with a building code official and a fire code official. If you want engineering consultation on a systems design, you must specify which type of system, and a specialist will be available.

Is There a Consulation Service Fee?

No. This service is offered as a courtesy to encourage early contact by the project developer with code officials to discuss the buildings proposed design relative to the County's applicable building and fire safety construction standards.

Are There Any Limitations or Conditions?

The preliminary design consultation is not a formal part of the permit review process; as such, the results of the discussions are not official or binding.

Each scheduled consultation appointment is allocated one hour. Your one-hour appointment is your time. In order to gain the maximum benefit from this process, it is important that you are prompt for your appointment.

Typically, these discussions do not require the whole hour and one meeting is sufficient. Depending on the degree of design development or the project's complexity, additional consultations may be requested.

Scheduling a Preliminary Design Consultation

To schedule a Design Consultation use the Design Consultation Application along with a meeting agenda required to be submitted with the application.    There are one hour slots available Monday through Thursday each week from 9 AM to 10 AM. 

Application Package
Application Design Consultation Application
Restaurant Design Consultation Application Restaurant Design Consultation Application
New IgCC Green Building Application Application for IgCC Green Building
Fees and Taxes
DPS Fees and Taxes  Current Fee Regulations
No Bonds Required  
Codes, Standards, Executive Regulations
Current Codes, Standards, Executive Regulations DPS Codes, Standards, and Exec Regulations
Commercial Building Code ICC International Building Code / 2015
MBRC Link to Codes
Electrical Code NFPA National Electrical Code / 2008
Mechanical Code ICC International Mechanical Code / 2015
Life Safety Code NFPA 101/2003 COMAR NFPA 101/2012
Fire Alarm Code NFPA 72/2002 COMAR NFPA 72/2010
Sprinkler Code NFPA 13R/2010 NFPA13/2010
Frequently Asked Questions
311 Web Portal: Enter key word "Preliminary Design"
Online Permitting Status Information and Inspections
Online Permit Status, Inspection Scheduling and Canceling Link to DPS eServices
Call for More Information
In Montgomery County 311
Outside of Montgomery County 240-777-0311