County Code Enforcement Still Catching Up with Plan Review Turnaround
It’s been more than two months since the chaotic implementation of the 2012 North Carolina Residential Code, but Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement is still way behind its targeted plan review turnaround time of five working days. A letter issued this morning by Code Enforcement Director Jim Bartl outlines three challenges the department has faced since the new code went into effect on March 1, which cumulatively have led to plan approval times as long as 18 days from submittal:
A significant increase in residential plan submittals ahead of the March 1 code switchover date, because of the threat of a plan review shutdown created by the unavailability of 2012 code books. Anticipating this problem, Mecklenburg County, REBIC and other groups had encouraged builders to submit all permit requests by midnight on February 29;An increased submittal of large master-plan packages since March 1, all of which need to be reviewed for compliance with the new Residential Code, and;The complexity of the 2012 code, which was introduced without a strong advance training program for inspectors and plan review staff.
According to Bartl, March and April submittals were up 54 percent over the previous 8-month average, creating a backlog that the department anticipates will take another 6 to 8 weeks to eliminate. In an effort to return to the 5-day turnaround time as soon as possible, Code Enforcement is in the process of hiring for 2 more approved, part-time plan review positions, and has shifted two field inspectors to the office to conduct plan review on a full-time basis.
REBIC will continue to work with Code Enforcement in the coming weeks to help find ways to cut down the backlog of plans and return the department to its typical 5-day turnaround time. Until then, we ask our builder members to be patient with the challenges created by the ineffective launch of the 2012 Residential Code, and to schedule your deliveries accordingly. If you’re experiencing any specific issues besides a delayed turnaround, please contact Joe Padilla, REBIC’s Executive Director, at (704) 940-3174.
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