Working to reduce wait times for state building permits

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Working to reduce wait times for state building permits

My primary goal as your state representative is to promote progress in Lake County by listening and responding to the needs of my constituents. A common concern I have heard is that it takes too long to receive a state building permit, so I decided to look into this and learn what was being done to help permit approvals move through the process in a timelier manner.

As of December 2013, it took an average of 57 days or about 8 weeks to process a Class 1 Building Structure permit. As of December 2014, the process had been reduced and was taking an average of only 11 days. The wait time was significantly reduced because of legislation that went into effect last summer to streamline the building permit application process.

The new state law reduced wait times by creating multiple time limits. For example, the Division of Fire and Building Safety is now required to notify an applicant within 10 business days of its intent to perform a plan review. The division is also required to complete their initial plan review within 20 business days after notifying an applicant that their project has been chosen for plan review.

In a situation where the state requests corrections, the applicant will need to make the required adjustments to their proposal. After corrected plans are submitted, the Division of Fire and Building Safety will have 10 business days to complete the next review. However, the division may only review items related to the corrections that were requested by the state. This helps eliminate unnecessary overviews of plans that have already been reviewed.

This legislation also addressed local plan review problems. It requires plan reviews by local government units to complete their initial review within 20 business days of receiving a plan. Any reviews done in response to required corrections must be completed within 10 business days after receiving the corrections. In the event that the local government does not provide notice or act within the allotted time frames, construction activity is permitted to take place.

Additionally, a subcommittee was formed within the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to determine what else may be needed to create the most efficient plan review process possible.

After my research, I was pleased to see how much was being done to address the concerns of our community. With the changes to state law, the building permit plan review process now operates in a timelier manner. Limiting the wait period for receiving building permits is crucial to the growth and progress of our community. As a businesswoman, I understand that increased government efficiency fosters a positive climate conducive to private sector job growth and expansion.

I encourage you to contact my office by email at h19@iga.in.gov or by phone at 317-232-9850 if you have any questions or issues you would like to see addressed.

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Rep. Olthoff represents a portion of Lake County.