Council OKs new building inspection programSuperior’s City Council approved an ordinance that will revamp the way the city assesses building permit fees.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Superior’s City Council approved an ordinance that will revamp the way the city assesses building permit fees.
Instead of assessing permit fees based on the value of the work, the new system will base those fees on the nature of the work and the size of the project, better reflecting the amount of work building inspection is required to do in connection with the project.
The new law would assure that someone building a smaller garage would not pay more in building inspection fees than someone building a larger garage.
Under the old law, people estimated the cost or value of the project to determine the cost of building permits. The result is a vast discrepancy in permit fee costs for similar structures as we revealed in a studied conducted in late 2010.
While five people built 20-by-24 foot garages during that time, permit costs ranged from $36.30 to $125.67, for the same size garage. All but one permit cost less than $100.
“Under the new permit fee structure adopted by the council, the cost of building permit fees for a 20-by-24 foot garage would be $120 and would cover the cost of inspections required for the project.
“I see this as user-friendly,” said Councilor Mick MacKenzie.
Councilor Bob Browne, however, questioned by the cost of the permit fees were not included in the law, a question posed to him by some building contractors.
Rather than write those fees in the ordinance, which would require a change in the law if some permit fees needed to be adjusted, the resolution establishing those fees doesn’t require publication as an ordinance change would, thereby saving the city money, said City Assessor Brad Theien.
Changes in fees would still be subject to committee and council approval, but the cost of publishing the law again would not be necessary, he said. Theien said the new fees will be posted on the building inspection portion of the city’s website, making them easier for people to find than it would be if those costs were included in the ordinance.
The new permit program is broken down to two types of construction, residential and commercial, with commercial costs slightly higher than residential. The permits for new construction allow for all components of a building project to fall under a single permit, eliminating the need for electrical, plumbing and mechanical contractors to seek their own permits for a project. Contractors will also have the option to combine permits that include a number of different specialties.
Re-inspection fees of $60 will be added for each return needed, but city officials are hopeful that an education component in the new permit process will reduce the number of re-inspections needed.
“It appears that this schedule will be at or below our present fee schedule,” Curran said.
“One of the things we’re trying to do here is streamline the (application) process,” said Dan Curran, chief building inspector for the city.