By Helen Callier
September 28th, 2021
National Code Compliance Month was established by the American Association of Code Enforcement many years ago to recognize work that Code Enforcement Officers provide to make sure buildings are safe for use. They perform inspections using building codes and zoning ordinances on residential to industrial to environmental and other types of buildings and infrastructure. Being a Code Enforcement Officer is a demanding job; and PermitUsNow team members have worked with many Code Enforcement Officers over the years and we appreciate their support.
Now, as a Contractor, here’s why you should care about National Code Compliance Month. During the month of October, across the United States and Canada, Code Enforcement Officers in many municipal jurisdictions ramp up their efforts searching, identifying, and documenting violations known as red tags on buildings not permitted, missing a Certificate of Occupancy, wrong CO for building use or other violations.
This means that if you forgot or skirted around pulling a permit then you are in violation and are at a high risk of being identified and worse, your customer – Property Owner – can face fines. You’re also at a high risk of being red-tagged for failing to call for final inspection and the building is in use without a CO. How do we know this to be true? Aside from knowing the building codes and ordinances of hundreds of jurisdictions, we have keen knowledge from our 1.844.PERMIT.4 hotline ringing off the hook in October with calls from Contractors and Project Owners saying they have been red-tagged.
Below are a few examples of dire calls received in October from Contractors and Property Owners
Contractor: “I’ve just been red-tagged by City Code Enforcement for not having permits.”
PermitUSNow: What’s your project address? Is your project commercial or residential? What’s the scope of work and percent completion of construction?
Contractor: “This is a 30-year-old industrial facility and we’ve been adding to this building for a few years. Can you help us obtain the proper permits?
Property Owner: “The City’s Code Enforcement Officer left red tags on all our houses today.”
PermitUsNow: What are the property addresses? What type of work are you doing on the houses?
Property Owner: “Construction was completed last year. What do we need to do?”
And one of the most interesting calls received from a Project Owner stating that “Code Enforcement has been driving from property to property all week in the industrial park across the street. Am I located on the County or the City side?”
If you are a Contractor, Architect or Project Owners that has performed work within a jurisdiction that requires meeting building codes and ordinances that were not permitted or lacks a proper CO, consider eliminating your risk of being red-tagged, taken to court, and fined by proceeding to obtain permits for construction work completed. The cost and stress of operating undercover or thinking that the City does not know can be significant.
If the above is your situation, the 7 corrective action steps to pull permit when caught without a permit by Code Enforcement can be helpful to minimize a violation.
- Develop scope of work and show on drawings
- Create a set of drawings, if needed, and include prerequisite documents per scope
- Complete permit application, package and submit correctly to jurisdiction
- Respond to any City Permitting RFI’s and comments
- Pull permit(s) and call for inspection(s)
- Obtain Certificate of Occupancy and post on site
- Properly store all documents (hard files and electronically)
October can be scary for some Contractors that failed to pull permits or have issues with a CO. You can avoid looking over your shoulders and worrying when you see a City Code Enforcement vehicle driving by and take steps to do the right thing. If you need assistance with permits, call PermtiUsNow anytime at 1.844.PERMIT.4.