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February 29, 2020

The new residential code now being implemented has brought an issue to the surface that doesn’t get much conversation, but really deserves it. While sitting in a code training session, I listened to more than one builder speak to the fact that they didn’t have a clear grasp on some aspects of basic framing or concrete. The realization I came to was the builders are relying on their sub-contractors to understand what is required. The overwhelming similarity on who understood and who didn’t was mainly the age of the contractor. Those in their upper 40’s and above generally learned under the “old school” method I was taught. That is where the general contractor did almost everything from the concrete to the framing and drywall. The only things subbed out were the mechanicals, plumbing, and electrical. Even cabinets were hung by the general contractor. Now, it seems very few contractors or builders have their own crews that do it all. I’m not saying that change is good or bad in the way we now build a house, but things have definitely changed with the way labor is used.

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One other reason to bring this up is due to some proposed changes to the rules and regulations concerning sub-contractors being licensed. Currently, all subs should be licensed to work under a general contractor, but we know that is not happening out there today. Most subs are paid by a 1099, thereby making them a sub-contractor requiring licensure also. Changes to this rule are being discussed, and I have asked HBA members to have a voice. Below is a request for comment from the contracting community on the future of licensure versus registration of sub-contractors. Commentary is open for 30 days. After this time, a sub-committee appointed by the Building Department Board of Directors will meet to draft a proposal for the board to vote on at a later meeting this spring. Now is the time to be heard on any changes that could affect your business practices in the future. Allen County has one of the most progressive and efficient building departments in the State. Comparing other jurisdictions in the mid-west, we are one of the lowest cost departments for the number of inspections offered.* Below is a copy of what is on our website related to the request for comment:

Call for Comments on Rules and Regulations
The Allen County Building Department is asking for commentary on proposed changes to the rules and regulations, Chapter 1, Section A 8 and A 9 regarding the licensure requirements for sub-contractors in the listed categories. The attached draft proposal is subject to wide revision prior to being submitted to the Building Department Board of Directors at a later date to be announced. A sub-committee composed of members of the Building Contractors Association, Home Builders Association, building department board, and building department staff has been established to examine proposals and recommend new policy to the board for a formal vote in a future meeting. The time period for accepting commentary will be thirty days starting February 21, 2020. Comments will be accepted via e-mail to and by us mail or in writing during normal office hours.

Thank you,
John Caywood
Allen County Building Commissioner

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