Recently, we ran into a permitting problem with a channel letter project in Omaha that prolonged our installation timetable. The customer was moving into a strip mall that had a previous tenant in his bay. The electrical was already on his front wall. Previously in this circumstance -if we put the new sign within 5 feet of the old sign – no electrical permit was necessary. Or, if there was no electrical, we could still put the new sign up – however a licensed electrician must pull the permit for, and do the electrical work.
Now all of that has changed.
The city of Omaha will not release a sign permit until their electrical department releases the electrical permit. Let me repeat that NO SIGN PERMIT UNTIL AN ELECTRICAL PERMIT IS ISSUED. This will no doubt add time and expense to your project. With an electrical permit, a member of the city’s staff must come out and “inspect” the work. He can also inspect ALL the electrical at the property. If any is found “not up to code” you will have to fix it BEFORE a permit is issued.
The Bottom Line
Whereas we all want safe and sound practices for electrical, holding up a sign permit seems to put the customer’s signage project in a “slow down phase”. After all, a sign that is installed and does not light up is better than no sign at all. We do not foresee this policy changing in future, so the bottom line is do not wait until the last minute to think about permits or you may have a grand opening minus a sign.
Photo courtesy of shannonpatrick17, under Creative Commons “Attribution 2.0 Generic” license.