Commission eyes building department

Published 11:49 am Friday, December 26, 2008

Ask a local business person and they will tell you, the process of getting state building inspections completed can often be time-consuming.

With an eye toward helping area businesses and developers, the Lawrence County Commission has agreed to establish a county building department. That entity will also have the authority to enforce the state building codes.

This means in the future, those needing such inspections will not have to wait for an inspector to come from another part of the state to be available to come to area construction sites.

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“This will speed up the time they can get inspections,” Commission President Doug Malone said. “It takes a lot of time and often (local businesses) go through the nightmare of paperwork and then have to wait for everything to be approved.”

He estimated this new department could cut the wait time from eight or nine weeks to one or two weeks.

Carl Darling, site manager for America’s Styrenics, agreed.

Waiting for a state inspector has been a problem for his facility in the past.

“I think this will probably help with timeliness and accountability,” Darling said. “I think this will help move things forward.”

This means fees paid for such inspections will stay in Lawrence County, too.

Right now the state collects approximately $200,000 a year from Lawrence County entities.

Even after hiring or contracting for these services, commissioners anticipate the county may actually see a profit of maybe as much as $10,000.

The move must still be approved by the Ohio Board of Building Standards.