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UPDATES: New Code & Our Enforcement

February 4, 2020

Happy Groundhog Day Everyone. Whether you believe in the tale or not, spring is almost upon us. The building department is working diligently to present you, the contractor, designer, or supplier, with an easy to understand document highlighting significant code changes this year. I think I shared the expression on the groundhog’s face when I heard it would be the end of the month before the new code books will be back from the publisher. It would be challenging to expect full understanding of new building code without the resources to find out what has changed.  Our staff has attended multiple classes and last week I asked each department to provide me with a highlight sheet of code changes. Once I have reviewed the structural section for interpretation, these notes will be provided through the HBA and the Allen County website.
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I hope any fears from last year have been put to rest on how ACBD is enforcing the new code. Inspectors have left cards with the appropriate code citation in order to educate the tradesperson performing the work. Before we can tighten down on enforcement, the industry needs to have access to both the books/materials as well as access to training the County will be scheduling for March. I expect things to come together between April and June this year. Don’t forget to use codequestion@allencounty.us for interpretations or questions on the new code. It is easier for us to manage the questions when they come in this way.

On another topic, the Building Department Board of Directors met last week for their January meeting. The biggest topic is unlicensed sub-contractors being used in violation of section A.8 of the rules and regulations. We have observed this to be rampant in the residential sector of contracting right now with increasing instances of poor workmanship or permit holders who don’t have a clue what is going on where the permit was pulled. Record breaking permit numbers and the shortage of labor calls for some reconsideration of the current rules while not sacrificing quality and safety. We are working on a significant change in the sub-contracting/registration portion of the rules and regulations that will allow some categories of sub-contractor to be registered instead of licensed. This will allow for a wider pool of workers while still having oversight of the construction process. The final draft will be available for review in quarter four of 2020. In the meantime, we have relaxed enforcement of rule A.8 by decision of the board until the new rule can be adopted.

Thank you,
John Caywood
Allen County Building Commissioner

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