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Freiman, Egan, & Karabinchak Measure to Streamline Construction Permit Applications and Approvals Now Law

(TRENTON) – To simplify and streamline a process that is often time consuming, complicated and tedious, Assembly Democrats Roy Freiman (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset), Joseph Egan (D-Middlesex, Somerset), and Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex) sponsored legislation signed into law last week by Governor Phil Murphy that will create an online application for the building permit process and centralize the process under the Department of Community Affairs.

“This law aims to both modernize and simplify what can be a complicated, time consuming permit approval process,” said Freiman. “Municipalities, contractors, businesses and homeowners will benefit from utilizing technology and making this applying for a permit more efficient.”

The law (A-1145), also known as, the “Electronic Permit Processing Review System,” will create a centralized online system for builders to submit their permitting plans electronically. The review system also would allow applicants to schedule inspections and exchange information with other building professionals, as well as the Department of Community Affairs, during the review process.

“This law will allow business owners to effectively run their businesses without having to waste valuable time seeking building permits,” said Egan. “For homeowners, it can become difficult to take time off of work to go and receive permits from building departments.  This is a great step toward making it easier for people to obtain the permits they need.”

The electronic system established by the law will allow permit applicants to:

  • submit application materials for review;
  • request an on-site inspection of a project; and
  • have continuous, 24-hour access to their submissions.

Under the law, the Electronic Permit Processing Review System must be   developed and implemented within one year. The Department of Community Affairs would be required to provide training opportunities on using the electronic system for employees of local enforcement agencies and private agencies that provide plan review and inspection services.

“The law will improve the systems that already exist in a simple and efficient way,” said Karabinchak.  “Due to the simplicity of the new systems, higher rates of compliance should ensue.”

The Electronic Permit Processing Review System legislation aims to bring 80% of application submissions online. For large, complicated, or any other construction projects, the current process of working with the local building department will remain available.