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Freiman Introduces Bill to Streamline Construction Permit Applications and Approvals

New System Would Simplify Process for Contractors and Homeowners

To simplify and streamline a process that is often time consuming, complicated and tedious, Assemblyman Roy Freiman has introduced legislation that would create an online application for the building permit process and centralize the process under the Department of Community Affairs.

“Getting a building permit can be extremely frustrating because of the time it takes, as well as the steps required, for a submission,” said Freiman (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset). “This bill looks to simplify the process, for the contractors, businesses, and homeowners by utilizing technology and making the process more efficient.”

The bill (A-4463), also known as, the “Electronic Permit Processing Review System,” would 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.

“Another benefit of this bill is that it eliminates the need for business owners to take precious time away from their company to seek building permits–time that they could be using to run their business and move their company forward,” said Freiman. “It also would help home owners by decreasing the time they need to take off from work to visit a municipal building for permit purposes.”

The electronic system established by the bill would allow permit applicants to:
· submit application materials for review;
· request an on-site inspection of a projet, and
– have continuous, 24-hour access to their submissions.

Under the legislation, 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 goal here is to improve on the systems already in place and not make them more complicated. Ensuring that employees are trained and prepared is a crucial component said Freiman. “Once the system is in place, we should expect higher rates of compliance of permits because the process will be much easier.”

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.

The bill was introduced on September 24 and referred to the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. It now awaits further consideration from the Assembly.