Recently we have received a greater number of calls than normal regarding code compliance issues. Everything from non-permitted additions and garage enclosures to setback and easement encroachments are becoming bigger issues than they have been in the past. Often these are greeted by the City with “submit documents, pay the fees and be on your way”. Sometimes the consequences are more extensive, including removal of work and sometimes remediation of hillsides and landscaping. As zoning and building codes become more and more complicated even including “green” requirements it is more important than ever to consult a professional prior to beginning even what appears to be a small project. I am biased, but I like to think an Architect is a good first source regarding any thing to do with the built environment. We may not have the answer but if not can more than likely point the correct direction. I do not know about other offices but we will do a site visit and consultation at no cost and will not hesitate to recommend a different approach if our services are not needed. Especially as Cities try and squeeze every possible dollar out of the populace this is one case where it is better to ask permission than forgiveness!