County Code Enforcement Taking Steps to Improve Permitting Turnaround

As permit approval times continue to rise in Mecklenburg County, Code Enforcement officials are moving forward with a series of steps they believe will help turn things around. They include:

    Requesting approval to hire 10 new part-time plan review staff, in addition to the 2 new reviewers who just came on board;Considering adding overtime hours for Saturday plan review until the Department is caught up;Starting to screen submitted plans for compliance with the 2012 Residential Code before doing a full review;Soliciting temporary plan review help from code enforcement departments in Raleigh in Willmington;Adding a plan review checklist to the department website showing common code inconsistencies.

Customers should remember they also have the Residential Professional Certification Program available which leads to approval of plans on the submittal day or next day, for projects using qualified designers.  A description of Residential Professional Certification Program is located HERE.

Currently the turnaround time for plan reviews are 13 days for paper submittals, 23 days for E-Plan submittals (due to the shortage of fully trained reviewers for this online tool), and 23 days on townhome plan review. These times are well above the department’s targeted goal of five business days, largely because of the recent uptick in permitting activity and the state’s terribly inefficient launch of the 2012 NC Residential Code on March 1. In addition, Code Enforcement Director Jim Bartl says his department has struggled to find qualified third-party plan reviewers to help manage the load.

REBIC is continuing to work with Bartl and his staff to explore additional ways to improve permitting times, including an approach that would allow individual building permits to be issued before a full set of Master Plan drawings is approved. We will continue to keep you posted on any new steps that Mecklenburg County is taking to bring things back in line. In the meantime, we encourage builders to continue to submit plans by paper only, as this is taking significantly less time than E-plan review.

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