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2019: Another Billion Dollar Year

September 3, 2019

I will start out by congratulating you for reaching a milestone with the Building Department. On August 8, 2019, Allen County reached a billion dollars in total permit values. This is the third straight year we have reached this goal. In 2017, we hit the goal in late December. In 2018, we made the mark just before Thanksgiving. I was shocked when late summer bore this record out. Whether you are a contractor, design professional, or supplier, thank you for all you do to make Allen County grow.

With all this growth, the Building Department brought back informational meetings in August. This session focused on residential framing questions, garage drain requirements and new procedures for failed inspections.

Our inspectors had noticed a number of framing issues that needed addressed, one of which is porch support framing. Common issues include not see posts fully under double headers, or lack of adequate vertical support through the posts. We also discussed truss systems and “strongback” framing being done on site that required engineering when used. The Building Department is commissioning some standard drawings of acceptable on-site truss fabrication as well as details on acceptable standards for using a “strongback” configuration for ceiling joist spans. We plan to meet with HBA representatives and an engineer in September to get renderings made and distributed.
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Also discussed was clarification of what is required for garage drains. These must drain onto the parcel where the garage is located and cannot be plumbed into the sanitary sewer. There will be no penalties associated with incorrect garage drainage until January 1, 2019 to accommodate existing slabs that may already be configured prior to this clarification.

Allen County is choosing to relax the requirement on back-flow prevention installation on irrigation systems. A licensed plumber should be installing them. However, we are finding that enforcement of this is taking time away from getting other inspections done that take priority right now. Another change is that no permit will be required for irrigation systems that pull water from a body of water instead of a well or public service. Of course, any electrical connections for a pump in this matter does require a permit to be hooked to the panel.

Finally, we are trying to be more accommodating by utilizing digital photos and e-mail in the re-inspection process. This is beginning on the residential side first to work out any bugs. If an inspection fails that is not life-safety related, the contractor may contact the inspector by e-mail with a photo of the correction. This prevents delay for the contractor and needless return trips for the inspector. This must be agreed to by the inspector before just sending correction photos. The contractor must be in good standing in order to utilize this process.

We will be putting together a September meeting that will be directed at one of the trades or possibly commercial superintendents. We will contact the BCA to coordinate a date. These meetings are typically from 7:30 to 8:30 in the morning.

Best Regards,
John Caywood
Allen County Building Commissioner

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