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Building Development Commission Quarterly Bulletin
January 24, 2014 
The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners appoints the Building-Development Commission (BDC) as an advisory board to Code Enforcement. Membership includes representation from the design, construction and development communities, as well as the public. Check out www.meckpermit.com and go to "About Us" for more information. Contact your representative if you have any specific issues you would like the BDC to consider. 

The following is a brief summary of significant matters impacting the design and construction community on which the Building-Development Commission and the Code Enforcement Department have focused from October 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013. Further details on each of these follow: 

  • On the BDC
  • 2014 Customer Survey Distribution
  • Hybrid Collaborative Delivery Team Concept
  • Customer Service Center Design Project & Website Evaluation
  • BDC Discussion of BCC's 6 Year Code Cycle Proposal

1. On the BDC

Created by the BOCC in 1995, the BDC serves as the stakeholders and public voice in discussing with the Department matters involving the local design and construction industry.  BDC members represent the Charlotte Chamber, AIA, PENC, Home Builders, general contractors, remodeling contractors, mechanical-electrical-plumbing trade contractors, Landscape Architects, and the Charlotte Apartment Association.  In addition the BDC includes two public representatives appointed by the BOCC.  The BDC meets at 3pm on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at the Hal Marshal Center, 700 N Tryon St, to review the Department current workload, performance levels and progress on projects underway to improve service or address specific process problems.  The BDC meeting always includes an opportunity for any public attendee to address the Commission.
 
The BDC has a long history of working with other industry members close to the service delivery point, and the Department to address problems impacting either customers or the Department, with a goal of developing the most efficient process possible for all parties involved.  The best measure of the BDC’s positive impact on the local design and construction industry is “Fourteen Years of Change” posted on the Department website.
 
The BDC ardently believes technology can pave a path to a far more efficient permitting and inspection process.  To that end, since its inception, the BDC strongly supported the development of technology, leading to the Department current 98% paperless process.  A chronology of technology development in the Department is posted at this web address.
 

2. 2014 Customer Survey Distribution

Since 2002 on a bi-annual basis, the Department engages Customer Service Solutions to survey customers in the design and construction industry on their level of satisfaction with the Department’s performance and process.  The BDC recently completed review of survey content for each of the 3 interest groups, a) project oversight, b) plan review and permitting, and c) inspections.  The 2014 survey will be distributed to over 4000 customers in mid-February, with tentative completion and review date with the BDC in May.  We appreciate customers’ participation in the survey, which is available in both hard copy and electronic form.
 

3. Hybrid Collaborative Delivery Team Concept

This initiative is about providing a new service stream for BIM-IPD projects or BIM-collaborative projects in response to increased use of those tools in commercial design and construction.  The idea is to work more efficiently on these projects by eliminating the classic plan review/inspections division and instead have a team of code officials, handling project from start to finish.  These code officials work both as plan reviewers and inspectors, a big room space (the BIM-IPD bullpen) in much the same way that the previous Rehab Code Team operated.  We anticipate the team will begin work as early as the schematic design phase, and work with the owner’s team in the model, with a goal of approving virtual construction so that the actual construction passes inspection the first time.  On December 3, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners approved these positions and the Department is currently advertising to build the team.

 

4. Customer Service Center (CSC) Design Project & Website Evaluation 

This addresses the problem that, while our process is 98% paperless with some of the most advanced supporting technology in the US, it does not work well for a small group (7%+/-) of our customers.  In fact, we think there is a growing gap between customers who are well schooled in our process, and those who are either new to it, or use it infrequently enough that understanding the “ins and outs” is not intuitive, or are uncomfortable with the electronic medium.  This project focuses on that “growing gap” pursuing the following regimen on this problem.
·        Form a novice/infrequent customer focus group
·        Research what other authorities have done in this area
·        Research private sector initiatives
·        Work with the focus group to design a fix, bringing a proposal back to BDC with any related org changes, proposed performance measures and an RFBA for/if any added positions.
 
The CSC Focus Group met on January 7, January 22 and hopes to conclude its work by mid-March.  Initial findings indicate a major outcome will be assessment and perhaps redesign of meckpermit.com.
 
 
5. BDC Discussion of BCC's 6 Year Code Cycle Proposal
 
The NC Building Code Council (BCC) is currently considering a change in policy, moving the NC Commercial Construction Code from a 3 year code change cycle to 6 years.  The Department is adamantly opposed to this change and has posted an issue summary on meckpermit.com at this webpage.  In their February 18 meeting, the BDC will discuss the proposed change.  
 
 
 


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