SCP Council approves building permit fees

March 21, 2007 at 1:34 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Parish President Albert Laque and council members.
Parish President Albert Laque and council members.
St. Charles Parish Council approved a proposal to set permanment fees for residential and commercial building projects.

The council vote means charges for building permits will become effective in 10 days and inspections will be required every step of the way.

Mike Henderson, director of planning and zoning says the cost to apply for a permit for building a 2,000 square foot home in St. Charles parish will be $400 in permit fees and $1,200 including inspections.

“Because the legislature has instructed the parish to adopt the Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code, we have to abide by new rules and regulations,” Henderson, told the Herald-Guide in an exclusive interview.

The LSUCC rules state, “it shall be unlawful to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of any building or structure, or to erecct, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove convert, or replace any gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by LSUCC or to cause any such work to be done, without obtaining a properly issued permit from the St. Charles Parish Department of Planning and Zoning.

Henderson noted that the new fees adopted by the parish is necessary so that building inspectors can be hired and money will not have to come out of the parish’s general fund to offset the costs.

“A grant was issued to planning and zoning for $197,000 to enable the parish to set-up the department to handle the new building code guidelines,” He continued.

“Right now we are contracting the work out to David Zach, an engineer in Destrehan on a contractual basis, people who work for him are ICC certified, which means they meet the requirements to inspect homes and businesses,”

“It’s only a temporary solution to use David’s company - once we get things in place we can train our employees, purchase equipment like plotter scanners and properly train people to make sure we have enough inspectors hired to do a thorough job,” Henderson said.

The planning and zoning department also did a contract with the state’s fire marshall office to look over plan review paperwork for the commercial and residential buildings.

“What plan review means is that the fire marshall can look at your drawings or sketches of your house or business design and say what you need to have added to the plan or what’s missing from the plan,” Henderson said.

“They’ll tell you things like ‘this doesn’t meet the wind code, or review your plans and make sure your lighting is adequate,”

“If you have a stairway you have to have a handrail when you start building your building the fire marshall’s office makes sure everything matches what’s on on your plans,” He continued.

“The State legislature felt it was necessary that these codes be enforced to protect businesses and houses,” Henderson added.

“Hurricane Katrina’s powerful winds revealed that a lot of buildings were not structurally sound-with these new codes in place we can ensure our residents homes are being built to the highest standard and quality,”

Henderson would like to use a computerized, web-based system to give residents and opportunity to review their permits over the Internet and keep track of the next part of their inspections while they wait for their house to be built.

“Right now we are inputting things into a computer system and we are the only ones that can access information concerning the building permits, but our residents can’t,” Henderson said.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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