County crackdowns on contractors who don’t get permits

While home builders grapple with supply chain issues and difficulty finding workers, some seem to be ignoring important parts of the licensing process.

Coweta County has seen an alarming number of homes built without the proper permits or inspections, and the Coweta County Board of Commissioners last week approved a new ordinance that will put bite into stop work orders County.

The violations ran the gamut from a developer assessing and preparing the site without a permit, then calling for a foundation inspection for a foundation that has never been licensed, to calling for a roofing inspection for a home. who has never had a site preparation permit, foundation permit or building permit, according to director of community development Jon Amason and assistant director of community development Angela White.

The last straw, however, was when an inspector showed up to do the final inspection of a new home for its certificate of occupancy, according to Amason.

The inspector knocked and entered, as he normally would. Then he met the resident of the house.

“She said, ‘Why are you in my house?’” Said Amason. The woman had already closed the house and moved in – something that should never have happened before an OC was issued.

That wasn’t the first issue with this particular house, Amason told Commissioners. Work had started on the house without a permit and a stop work order was issued earlier in construction.

“That’s what made us look back and see how many of them we were dealing with,” he said. This is an issue that county staff had already discussed because it was starting to take a long time.

They have found around 40 cases over the past two years, Amason said.

When we discover that a permit or an inspection was not done properly, “we spend a lot of precious time fixing these problems,” he said.

“We could spend this time helping our valued customers who chose to follow the regulations,” Amason said. “Having to spend so much time with people who are not following the regulations is a burden on our system. ”

Under the new ordinance, the first stop-work order is accompanied by a written warning.

But on the second violation, a citation will be issued and the stop work order will remain in place until the citation has been adjudicated.

With district court schedules, this will typically last at least a week and could be a month, according to White.

If a contractor has a third violation, the stop work order will stand until there is a hearing before the county commissioners. And the contractor will not be able to withdraw any other permit until the hearing before the commissioners.

“Our first goal is to educate, and then when we have these same people making the same mistakes, we just needed more tools in our toolkit to help persuade those builders – who should know better – to do the right thing, ”Amason said. .

He said that when speaking to contractors he had heard that they were having scheduling issues and issues getting the subcontractors lined up and the demand is so high.

“But that really doesn’t excuse the fact that they have to complete their paperwork with our office in a timely manner,” he said.

The community development department launched its new software system, Accela, in September, and entrepreneurs can now apply for permits online and pay online any time of the day or night.

“Now there’s no ‘You Weren’t Open’ or ‘It was Saturday’,” White said.

Community development staff try to work smart and be efficient, but dealing with offenders can take two or three days, White said.

The staff “want to help people. They want them to be successful, but we need them to help us and comply with building codes, ”she said.

When builders don’t get the permits – and inspections – it costs them in the long run. Because if the inspectors cannot verify something because it has already been covered up, the builder should ask an engineer to provide a letter stating that the job was done correctly.

Going forward without permits or inspections isn’t because people have to wait long for inspectors, White said. If a request is received before 3 p.m., “they come out the next morning,” White said. An inspector was on site at 6:45 a.m. Friday, she said.

The county contracts with SAFEbuilt for home inspectors, and SAFEbuilt may remove inspectors from surrounding communities if there is higher demand in Coweta, according to White.

The goal of mandatory inspections is to ensure that every building constructed in Coweta is constructed correctly and safely. “We make sure when they move into this house that we’ve done all of our due diligence,” White said.

“We would really like everyone to do the right thing – and we wouldn’t have needed to do it,” she said.

About Justin Howze

Check Also

Henderson County News: Opp House votes to dissolve and transfer assets to Buncombe

Opp House votes to dissolve and transfer assets to Buncombe Founded in 1961, Opportunity House …