Industry Committee Considers Improvements to Permitting Process

A committee of industry representatives met last week to discuss ways to improve the efficiency and consistency of Mecklenburg County’s Plan Review, Permitting and Inspections process.

Composed of representatives from REBIC, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, NAIOP, the Charlotte HBA, the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association and other industry trade groups, the Select Committee of the Building-Development Commission (BDC) met for almost 3 hours on Tuesday with county managers and members of the Code Enforcement leadership team.

With the discussion facilitated by an outside consultant, the group tackled issues in four key areas of potential improvement:

  • Inconsistencies Between Plan Review & Inspections
  • Length of Plan Review
  • Inspection Times
  • Customer Service

The first topic dominated much of the conversation, with the builders, architects and contractors in attendance almost universally voicing their frustration about how field inspectors frequently made changes to approved plans, often at the last minute. While the group agreed that the plan review process would never be able to eliminate the need for some minor field changes, industry members argued that the county needed a much faster process for resolving inconsistencies, as well as an improved system to let builders make changes to approved plans.

Other points made by the industry representatives included:

  • The challenge of working with other departments, particularly Charlotte Fire;
  • Fear of repercussions for builders who complain about issues with specific inspectors;
  • The need to vary inspection times by project size and type;
  • The frequent challenges of uploading plans to the county’s online review system;
  • The amount of information required by the county to submit a set of plans; and,
  • The need for better customer service by the Building Inspection team.

The issues raised by the Select Committee, along with potential fixes, will be discussed by the full Building-Development Commission when it next meets on Tuesday, May 20th at 3 p.m. in the Hal Marshall Building.

The Select Committee is one of a number of initiatives launched by the County after the Board of Commissioners received a series of letters from REBIC, the Apartment Association and the Charlotte Chamber asking for specific improvements to the permitting and inspections process. You can read REBIC’s letter to the Board of Commissioners HERE.

REBIC will continue to work with Mecklenburg County staff and the Board of Commissioners to find ways to improve the plan review and inspections process, and will keep you appraised of our progress.

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