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City strengthens building-permit process

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Starting Nov. 1, the city of Indianapolis will require that all building plans for Class 1 structures, which include commercial, industrial and multifamily buildings, be reviewed before a building permit is issued.

The pre-permit review could add nearly three weeks to the permitting process, requiring architects, engineers and contractors to allow for the additional time in their project schedules.

Conversely, the change could help prevent time-consuming corrections to a project already under construction.

Permit approval currently is based on the issuing of what’s called a "construction design release" by the state of Indiana and a completed application to the city’s Office of Code Enforcement.

A construction contractor typically can apply for a building permit in Indianapolis and receive it the same day. The new, pre-permit review is expected to take an additional 15 days to 20 days to complete. 

Cameron Smith, a project manager at Indianapolis-based Shiel Sexton Co. Inc., has mixed feelings about the change.

“From a contractor’s perspective, we see it as an additional item on our schedule; it’s increasing our time to complete the job, which we never like,” Smith said. “On the other hand, it’s best to get everything on the table first thing, so the city and state knows what’s going on with the project.”

OCE Director Rick Powers said in a written statement that effective building code enforcement is essential to building safety and to maintaining affordable insurance rates for residents and business owners.
 
“This new process will improve public safety, and it will save the building industry both time and money if corrections are made prior to construction,” he said.

The pre-permit review is the latest in a series of improvements the city has undertaken following a 2003 audit by the New Jersey-based Insurance Services Office Inc. The ISO lowered the city’s grade for building-code effectiveness because it lacked a detailed building code plan review for commercial, industrial and multifamily properties.

The ISO also admonished the city for low inspection rates and the absence of building-inspector training.

Insurance companies use the ISO rating to set insurance premiums.

The city since has more than doubled its number of building inspectors, started a building inspector certification program and increased inspection rates from 30 percent to 95 percent.

The city encourages applicants to include the plan review in their project timelines, submit a completed application according to requirements and submit building plans as early as possible, concurrent with the application for the construction design release they submit to the state.

OCE will hold a workshop on the pre-permit process at 9 a.m. Oct. 20 at its offices at 1200 Madison Ave., Suite 100.
 

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  • Fees, fees, fees
    Another example of the public sector sticking their noses in the private sector with their hands out. This measure is more expensive and time consuming, not that the city cares. The OCE is desperate to justify their jobs by stringing this thing out.
  • Fees, fees, fees
    Another example of the public sector sticking their noses in the private sector with their hands out. This measure is more expensive and time consuming, not that the city cares. The OCE is desperate to justify their jobs by stringing this thing out.
  • Maybe the OCE should put their name and stamp on the plans as well, and take some of the liability off the professionals, since they are taking such a invasive interest.
  • Do you think this is going to reduce the E&O insurance for design professionals?

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

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