The Code Enforcement Department is interested in providing customers with another plan review option and more control over permitting time, while at the same time promoting professional responsibility for code compliance. To that end, Code Enforcement proposes initiating a commercial plan review Professional Certification Program component as a regular option available to projects with teams composed of qualifying professionals as the designers of record.
The proposed Professional Certification Program is the successor to the Commercial Permits Pilot Program Stages 1 & 2. The latter program is 3 years old and, though having seen limited use in the context of overall commercial plan review volume, has consistently exhibited an extremely low defect rate.
The idea for this new program is very simple.
a) professionals qualify to participate in the program
b) preliminary plan reviews are required at drawing 90% completion stage
c) professionals provide a certification statement on code compliance on the 100% permit drawings
d) the building permit is issued on application
The program will be available to all project types, subject to consensus being reached on the code logic presented in the preliminary review at 90% completion. Projects requiring review by the Department of Insurance or other authorities, may participate if a letter of approval from those authorities is presented at the preliminary review.
How the program will work
The Commercial Plan Review Professional Certification Program would consist of the following:
- Projects must be submitted by qualifying professionals. Where review of more than one discipline is involved, each discipline must have a qualifying professional.
- The qualifying professional must be the designer of record, that is, the professional sealing the construction documents.
Exception: where a professional firm's Professional Certification Program qualifying professional certifies another professional designer of record's work within that firm, both parties shall seal the construction documents. The qualifying professional's seal shall indicate it covers code compliance issues, in language stipulated by Code Enforcement. In this case only, the certification statement signature shall be labeled "signature of qualifying professional".
- A preliminary code review with Department staff will be required at the 90% drawing completion stage. The preliminary review will be detailed and each professional shall provide a typewritten outline or notes summarizing their code logic.
- Plans must be submitted with a statement, by the designer of record in each discipline, certifying compliance with NCSBC. Only the attached Department certification statement may be used.
- Other earlier preliminary reviews may be requested by the design team as they feel appropriate, but a preliminary review at 90% drawing completion is required.
- Permits will be issued the same day if applied for by noon. Permits applied for after noon will be issued the following day.
- Construction may proceed at the risk of correcting changes found later by code enforcement officials (CEO).
- Items identified by CEO's as not in compliance with code requirements, must be brought into compliance, regardless of whether or not they are in place in the field.
- There is no fee for Commercial Permits Professional Certification Program projects, other than the normal building permit fee.
a.) 90% preliminary review drawing content: set must include 100% code compliance on key life safety issues, including: use declaration, construction type, fire ratings, fire separation, means of egress, special use requirements, and accessibility.
b.) What will be considered a major oversight or strike:
- strikes only accumulate after the permit is issued
- strikes may consist of any of the following.
- Any key life safety issues missed
- Details commented on in the 90% meeting which are subsequently not addressed in the permit drawings
- A strike is a project event that falls in the above criteria, not each individual oversight or detail in error.
How professionals qualify for participation
- Qualifying professionals must:
- Hold a license as a North Carolina Architect or Engineer
- pass the NC Building Officials Level III class and test for their particular discipline
- pass the NC Building Officials Law and Administration class and test
- pass the NC Building Officials Level III certification exam, for their particular discipline
- provide to Code Enforcement a copy of the pre-certification letter from the Code Qualification Board, as a Level III Code Official, for their particular discipline
- Professional Certification Program qualified participants who perform poorly, will be subject to disqualification from the program.
- The criteria for disqualification will be 3 projects showing major oversights in adherence to process or code requirements (also referred to as strikes). Disqualification will be for a minimum of 1 year. Reinstatement will be through a joint interview with, and at the discretion of, the head of commercial plan review, the CPM of the affected trade, and the Director of Code Enforcement.
- for owners, an expedited permitting process
- for owners, fewer code related field problems and delays in construction
- for Code Enforcement, a higher level of code compliant documents submitted for permitting
- for Code Enforcement, a decrease in projects requiring 2nd, 3rd and 4th reviews
- for professionals, a marketing edge as a qualifier for the Professional Certification Program.
- Program initiation date
This program is effective immediately.
Certification Statement Form