2010 Georgia Code
Title 8 - BUILDINGS AND HOUSING
Chapter 2 - STANDARDS AND REQUIREMENTS FOR CONSTRUCTION, ALTERATION, ETC., OF BUILDINGS AND OTHER STRUCTURES
E - 1. BUILDINGS GENERALLY
Part 2 - STATE BUILDING, PLUMBING, AND ELECTRICAL CODES
§ . 8-2-26 -

O.C.G.A. 8-2-26 (2010)
8-2-26. Enforcement of codes generally; employment and training of inspectors; contracts for administration and enforcement of codes


(a) The governing body of any municipality or county adopting any state minimum standard code shall have the power:

(1) To adopt by ordinance or resolution any reasonable provisions for the enforcement of the state minimum standard codes, including procedural requirements, provisions for hearings, provisions for appeals from decisions of local inspectors, and any other provisions or procedures necessary to the proper administration and enforcement of the requirements of the state minimum standard codes;

(2) To provide for inspection of buildings or similar structures to ensure compliance with the state minimum standard codes;

(3) To employ inspectors, including chief and deputy inspectors, and any other personnel necessary for the proper enforcement of such codes and to provide for the authority, functions, and duties of such inspectors;

(4) To require permits and to fix charges therefor;

(5) To contract with other municipalities or counties adopting any state minimum standard code to administer such codes and to provide inspection and enforcement personnel and services necessary to ensure compliance with the codes; and

(6) To contract with any other county or municipality whereby the parties agree that the inspectors of each contracting party may have jurisdiction to enforce the state minimum standard codes within the boundaries of the other contracting party.

(b) The commissioner shall be authorized to establish a training program for local inspectors whereby a representative of the department, upon the request of the governing authority of a county or municipality, may visit such county or municipality for the purpose of training the inspectors of such county or municipality in the effective enforcement of any state minimum standard code adopted by such county or municipality. The commissioner may from time to time establish regional training programs whereby the inspectors of several different counties and municipalities may take advantage of the training made available by such regional training programs.

(c) No local inspector shall require any person performing work in compliance with a state minimum standard code or variations thereto which are in conformity with the provisions of this part to comply with the standards of any other building code not covered by this part.
(d)(1) In lieu of inspection by an inspector or other person employed by the governing authority of any county or municipality, a licensed master plumber or utility contractor shall have the option of installing a water or sewer line according to the alternative inspection procedure described in this subsection where the installation is on private property outside the building underground.

(2) If the master plumber or utility contractor elects to utilize this inspection procedure, he or she shall file with the local inspector:

(A) Notice that the water and sewer line will be installed in accordance with the International Plumbing Code and will be inspected pursuant to the alternative inspection procedure described in this subsection;

(B) A copy of his or her master plumber or utility contractor certificate issued by the State Construction Industry Licensing Board;

(C) A copy of his or her trenching competent person certificate;

(D) A certificate showing that a bond has been filed in accordance with paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of Code Section 43-14-12, except that such bond shall be in the amount of $50,000.00 and issued by a surety rated "A," "Class VI," or better by the A. M. Best Company; and

(E) Within five business days after completion of the installation, a sworn certification that the water or sewer line has been installed in accordance with the International Plumbing Code.

(3) The department shall promulgate a standard form notice and a standard form certificate that shall be used to administer this subsection. Local inspectors shall make copies of the standard forms available to contractors.

(4) The master plumber or utility contractor shall be required to pay to the governing authority the applicable permit fee.

(5) Upon submission of the certification required by this subsection, the local governing authority shall be required to accept the inspection without the necessity of further inspection or approval, except that the local governing authority may perform an inspection at any time and may issue a stop-work order if the work is found to be in violation of code requirements.

(6) Any other provision of this subsection notwithstanding, the alternative inspection procedure described in this subsection shall be applicable only to installations on private individual single-family residential property.
(e)(1) Any county or municipal building permit issued in this state to a general contractor or homebuilder for residential or commercial construction shall have prominently printed thereon at least one inch apart from any other text on such permit and in type size and boldness equal to or greater than any other type size and boldness in the body of the permit the following:
"The issuance of this permit authorizes improvements of the real property designated herein which improvements may subject such property to mechanics' and materialmen's liens pursuant to Part 3 of Article 8 of Chapter 14 of Title 44 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. In order to protect any interest in such property and to avoid encumbrances thereon, the owner or any person with an interest in such property should consider contacting an attorney or purchasing a consumer's guide to the lien laws which may be available at building supply home centers."

(2) Any county or municipal construction permit, including but not limited to mechanical, plumbing, or electrical permits, issued in this state on existing residential or commercial property shall have prominently printed thereon at least one inch apart from any other text on such permit and in type size and boldness equal to or greater than any other type size and boldness in the body of the permit the following:
"The issuance of this permit authorizes improvements of the real property designated herein which improvements may subject such property to mechanics' and materialmen's liens pursuant to Part 3 of Article 8 of Chapter 14 of Title 44 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. In order to protect any interest in such property and to avoid encumbrances thereon, the owner or any person with an interest in such property should consider contacting an attorney or purchasing a consumer's guide to the lien laws which may be available at building supply home centers."

(3) Any person or entity which is issued a permit which authorizes improvements to new or existing residential or commercial real property shall be required to:

(A) Post a copy of such permit in a conspicuous place in the vicinity of such property where such improvements are being undertaken; or

(B) Deliver a copy of the permit to the property owner within ten days after the permit is received.

(f) A local inspector, including a fire service employee enforcing a state or local fire safety standard, who specifies a code violation noted during an inspection shall, upon the written request of the permit holder, cite in writing the particular code book, section, and edition of the code which is the basis of the violation.

(g) (1) If a governing authority of a county or municipality cannot provide review of the documents intended to demonstrate that the structure to be built is in compliance with the Georgia State Minimum Standard Codes most recently adopted by the Department of Community Affairs and any locally adopted ordinances and amendments to such codes within 30 business days of receiving a written application for permitting in accordance with the code official's plan submittal process or inspection services within two business days of receiving a valid written request for inspection, then, in lieu of plan review or inspection by personnel employed by such governing authority, any person, firm, or corporation engaged in a construction project which requires plan review or inspection shall have the option of retaining, at its own expense, a private professional provider to provide the required plan review or inspection. As used in this subsection, the term "private professional provider" means a professional engineer who holds a certificate of registration issued under Chapter 15 of Title 43 or a professional architect who holds a certificate of registration issued under Chapter 4 of Title 43, who is not an employee of or otherwise affiliated with or financially interested in the person, firm, or corporation engaged in the construction project to be reviewed or inspected. The local governing authority shall advise the permit applicant in writing if requested by the applicant at the time the complete submittal application for a permit in accordance with the code official's plan submittal process is received that the local governing authority intends to complete the required plan review within the time prescribed by this paragraph or that the applicant may immediately secure the services of a private professional provider to complete the required plan review pursuant to this subsection. The plan submittal process shall include those procedures and approvals required by the local jurisdiction before plan review can take place. If the local governing authority states its intent to complete the required plan review within the time prescribed by this paragraph, the applicant shall not be authorized to use the services of a private professional provider as provided in this subsection. The permit applicant and the local governing authority may agree by mutual consent to extend the time period prescribed by this paragraph for plan review if the characteristics of the project warrant such an extension. However, if the local governing authority states its intent to complete the required plan review within the time prescribed by this paragraph, or any extension thereof mutually agreed to by the applicant and the governing authority, and does not permit the applicant to use the services of a private professional provider and the local governing authority fails to complete such plan review in the time prescribed by this paragraph, or any extension thereof mutually agreed to by the applicant and the governing authority, the local governing authority shall issue the applicant a project initiation permit. The local governing authority shall be allowed to limit the scope of a project initiation permit and limit the areas of the site to which the project initiation permit may apply but shall permit the applicant to begin work on the project, provided that portion of the initial phase of work is compliant with applicable codes, laws, and rules. If a full permit is not issued for the portion requested for permitting, then the governing authority shall have an additional 20 business days to complete the review and issue the full permit. If the plans submitted for permitting are denied for any deficiency, the time frames and process for resubmittal shall be governed by subparagraphs (C) through (E) of paragraph (7) of this subsection. On or before July 1, 2007, the Board of Natural Resources shall adopt rules and regulations governing the review of erosion and sedimentation control plans under Part 9 of Chapter 7 of Title 12 to establish appropriate time frames for the submission and review of revised plan submittals where a deficiency or deficiencies in the submitted plans have been identified by the governing authority.

(2) Any plan review or inspection conducted by a private professional provider shall be no less extensive than plan reviews or inspections conducted by county or municipal personnel.

(3) The person, firm, or corporation retaining a private professional provider to conduct a plan review or an inspection shall be required to pay to the county or municipality which requires the plan review or inspection the same regulatory fees and charges which would have been required had the plan review or inspection been conducted by a county or municipal inspector.

(4) A private professional provider performing plan reviews under this subsection shall review construction plans to determine compliance with the Georgia State Minimum Standard Codes most recently adopted by the Department of Community Affairs and any locally adopted ordinances and amendments to such codes. Upon determining that the plans reviewed comply with the applicable codes, such private professional provider shall prepare an affidavit or affidavits on a form adopted by the Department of Community Affairs certifying under oath that the following is true and correct to the best of such private professional provider's knowledge and belief and in accordance with the applicable professional standard of care:

(A) The plans were reviewed by the affiant who is duly authorized to perform plan review pursuant to this subsection and who holds the appropriate license or certifications and insurance coverage stipulated in this subsection;

(B) The plans comply with the Georgia State Minimum Standard Codes most recently adopted by the Department of Community Affairs and any locally adopted ordinances and amendments to such codes; and

(C) The plans submitted for plan review are in conformity with plans previously submitted to obtain governmental approvals required in the plan submittal process and do not make a change to the project reviewed for such approvals.

(5) All private professional providers providing plan review or inspection services pursuant to this subsection shall secure and maintain insurance coverage for professional liability (errors and omissions) insurance. The limits of such insurance shall be not less than $1 million per claim and $1 million in aggregate coverage. Such insurance may be a practice policy or project-specific coverage. If the insurance is a practice policy, it shall contain prior acts coverage for the private professional provider. If the insurance is project-specific, it shall continue in effect for two years following the issuance of the certificate of final completion for the project. A local enforcement agency, local building official, or local government may establish, for private professional providers working within that jurisdiction, a system of registration listing the private professional providers within their areas of competency and verifying compliance with the insurance requirements of this subsection.

(6) The private professional provider shall be empowered to perform any plan review or inspection required by the governing authority of any county or municipality, including, but not limited to, inspections for footings, foundations, concrete slabs, framing, electrical, plumbing, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), or any and all other inspections necessary or required for the issuance of a building permit or certificate of occupancy by the governing authority of any county or municipality, provided that the plan review or inspection is within the scope of such private professional provider's area of competency. Nothing in this Code section shall authorize any private professional provider to issue a certificate of occupancy. Only a local governing authority shall be authorized to issue a certificate of occupancy.

(7) (A) The permit applicant shall submit a copy of the private professional provider's plan review report to the county or municipality. Such plan review report shall include at a minimum all of the following:

(i) The affidavit of the private professional provider required pursuant to this subsection;

(ii) The applicable fees; and

(iii) Any documents required by the local official and any other documents necessary to determine that the permit applicant has secured all other governmental approvals required by law.

(B) No more than 30 business days after receipt of a permit application and the affidavit from the private professional provider required pursuant to this subsection, the local building official shall issue the requested permit or provide written notice to the permit applicant identifying the specific plan features that do not comply with the applicable codes, as well as the specific code chapters and sections. If the local building official does not provide a written notice of the plan deficiencies within the prescribed 30 day period, the permit application shall be deemed approved as a matter of law and the permit shall be issued by the local building official on the next business day.

(C) If the local building official provides a written notice of plan deficiencies to the permit applicant within the prescribed 30 day period, the 30 day period shall be tolled pending resolution of the matter. To resolve the plan deficiencies, the permit applicant may elect to dispute the deficiencies pursuant to this subsection or to submit revisions to correct the deficiencies.

(D) If the permit applicant submits revisions to address the plan deficiencies previously identified, the local building official shall have the remainder of the tolled 30 day period plus an additional five business days to issue the requested permit or to provide a second written notice to the permit applicant stating which of the previously identified plan features remain in noncompliance with the applicable codes, with specific reference to the relevant code chapters and sections. If the local building official does not provide the second written notice within the prescribed time period, the permit shall be issued by the local building official on the next business day. In the event that the revisions required to address the plan deficiencies or any additional revisions submitted by the applicant require that new governmental approvals be obtained, the applicant shall be required to obtain such approvals before a new plan report can be submitted.

(E) If the local building official provides a second written notice of plan deficiencies to the permit applicant within the prescribed time period, the permit applicant may elect to dispute the deficiencies pursuant to this subsection or to submit additional revisions to correct the deficiencies. For all revisions submitted after the first revision, the local building official shall have an additional five business days to issue the requested permit or to provide a written notice to the permit applicant stating which of the previously identified plan features remain in noncompliance with the applicable codes, with specific reference to the relevant code chapters and sections.

(8) Upon submission by the private professional provider of a copy of his or her inspection report to the local governing authority, said local governing authority shall be required to accept the inspection of the private professional provider without the necessity of further inspection or approval by the inspectors or other personnel employed by the local governing authority unless said governing authority has notified the private professional provider, within two business days after the submission of the inspection report, that it finds the report incomplete or the inspection inadequate and has provided the private professional provider with a written description of the deficiencies and specific code requirements that have not been adequately addressed.

(9) A local governing authority may provide for the prequalification of private professional providers who may perform plan reviews or inspections pursuant to this subsection. No ordinance implementing prequalification shall become effective until notice of the governing authority's intent to require prequalification and the specific requirements for prequalification have been advertised in the newspaper in which the sheriff's advertisements for that locality are published. The ordinance implementing prequalification shall provide for evaluation of the qualifications of a private professional provider only on the basis of the private professional provider's expertise with respect to the objectives of this subsection, as demonstrated by the private professional provider's experience, education, and training. Such ordinance may require a private professional provider to hold additional certifications, provided that such certifications are required by ordinance for plan review personnel currently directly employed by such local governing authority.

(10) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit any public or private right of action designed to provide protection, rights, or remedies for consumers.

(11) This subsection shall not apply to hospitals, ambulatory health care centers, nursing homes, jails, penal institutions, airports, buildings or structures that impact national or state homeland security, or any building defined as a high-rise building in the State Minimum Standards Code; provided, however, that interior tenant build-out projects within high-rise buildings are not exempt from this subsection.

(12) If the local building official determines that the building construction or plans do not comply with the applicable codes, the official may deny the permit or request for a certificate of occupancy or certificate of completion, as appropriate, or may issue a stop-work order for the project or any portion thereof as provided by law, after giving notice to the owner, the architect of record, the engineer of record, or the contractor of record and by posting a copy of the order on the site of the project and opportunity to remedy the violation within the time limits set forth in the notice, if the official determines noncompliance with state or local laws, codes, or ordinances, provided that:

(A) The local building official shall be available to meet with the private professional provider within two business days to resolve any dispute after issuing a stop-work order or providing notice to the applicant denying a permit or request for a certificate of occupancy or certificate of completion; and

(B) If the local building official and the private professional provider are unable to resolve the dispute or meet within the time required by this Code section, the matter shall be referred to the local enforcement agency's board of appeals, if one exists, which shall consider the matter not later than its next scheduled meeting. Any decisions by the local official, if there is no board of appeals, may be appealed to the Department of Community Affairs as provided in this chapter. The Department of Community Affairs shall develop rules and regulations which shall establish reasonable time frames and fees to carry out the provisions of this paragraph.

(13) The local government, the local building official, and local building code enforcement personnel and agents of the local government shall be immune from liability to any person or party for any action or inaction by an owner of a building or by a private professional provider or its duly authorized representative in connection with building code plan review and inspection services by private professional providers as provided in this subsection.

(14) No local enforcement agency, local code official, or local government shall adopt or enforce any rules, procedures, policies, qualifications, or standards more stringent than those prescribed in this subsection. This subsection shall not preempt any local laws, rules, or procedures relating to the plan submittal process of local governing authorities.

(15) Nothing in this subsection shall limit the authority of the local code official to issue a stop-work order for a building project or any portion of such project, which may go into effect immediately as provided by law, after giving notice and opportunity to remedy the violation, if the official determines that a condition on the building site constitutes an immediate threat to public safety and welfare. A stop work order issued for reasons of immediate threat to public safety and welfare shall be appealable to the local enforcement agency's board of appeals, if one exists, in the manner provided by applicable law. Any decisions by the local official, if there is no board of appeals, may be appealed to the Department of Community Affairs as provided in this chapter.

(16) When performing building code plan reviews or inspection services, a private professional provider is subject to the disciplinary guidelines of the applicable professional licensing board with jurisdiction over such private professional provider's license or certification under Chapters 4 and 15 of Title 43, as applicable. Any complaint processing, investigation, and discipline that arise out of a private professional provider's performance of building code plan reviews or inspection services shall be conducted by the applicable professional licensing board. Notwithstanding any disciplinary rules of the applicable professional licensing board with jurisdiction over such private professional provider's license or certification under Chapters 4 and 15 of Title 43, any local building official may decline to accept building code plan reviews or inspection services submitted by any private professional provider who has submitted multiple reports which required revisions due to negligence, noncompliance, or deficiencies.

(17) Nothing in this subsection shall apply to inspections exempted in Code Section 8-2-26.1.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1969, p. 546, 6; Ga. L. 1970, p. 734, 2; Ga. L. 1971, p. 242, 5; Ga. L. 1980, p. 1316, 6; Ga. L. 1989, p. 1659, 8; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1632, 1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 550, 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1033, 1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 452, 2; Ga. L. 2000, p. 456, 1; Ga. L. 2004, p. 551, 6; Ga. L. 2006, p. 506, 1/HB 1385.

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