Bill Summary for S 677 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Sep 21 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
Senate Bill 677 (Public) Filed Thursday, April 6, 2023
Intro. by Jarvis, McInnis.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute to the 3rd edition makes the following changes.  

Section 1.

Changes the effective date of new GS 89C-19.2 (establishing a limited right of entry to land by professional land surveyors) from October 1, 2023, to July 1, 2024.

Section 2.

Enacts new GS 160D-1110.1, pertaining to commercial and multifamily development project building permit applications that have plans and specifications that are complete and selected for construction by a licensed professional engineer or a licensed architect.

Article 11 of Chapter 160D is the primary body of law that outlines code enforcement by local government in land development. Generally, a person cannot commence or proceed with construction or related activities without first securing relevant building permit(s) as required by North Carolina State Building Code (Code) and any other State or local laws applicable to the construction activity. Local governments and their inspection departments are generally responsible for plan review for building permit purposes.  

Creates at-risk building permit option for an eligible applicant that requested and attended a pre-submittal meeting, discussed below. Specifies that such applicants proceeding with an at-risk permit issued by a local government pursuant to this subsection assumes all risks of liability, and the local government is discharged and released from any liabilities, duties, and responsibilities attributable to the review, approval, or construction pursuant to that at-risk permit. Clarifies that, where multiple local development permits are required to complete a development project, a permit issued by a local government pursuant to this subsection is not an initial development permit for purposes of the vesting protections of GS 160D-108(e) (pertaining to permit choice and vested rights).

Provides for two at-risk permit options, the at-risk foundation option or the at-risk building structure option. Requires the local government to issue an at-risk building foundation permit if the statutory conditions are met, including the pre-submission meeting; the applicant’s receipt of all approvals necessary for building foundation construction notwithstanding that other development approvals from the local government, or other state or federal agencies, for the project have not yet been obtained; and there is an approved erosion and sedimentation control plan as required by GS Chapter 113A for land-disturbing activity at a building foundation construction site. Authorizes, but does not require, a local government to issue an at-risk building structure permit if a local government determines a permit applicant has submitted all necessary plans and sufficient information, and received all approvals necessary, for building structure construction (i.e., the erection and installation of structural or framing members for exterior walls and roof assemblies) notwithstanding that other development approvals from the local government, or other state or federal  agencies, for the project have not yet been obtained.  

Now requires local governments to provide the option for an eligible building permit applicant to request a pre-submittal meeting prior to applying for a building permit to discuss a building project and to determine whether the applicant possesses necessary plans and sufficient information the local government would require for building permit plan review. Requires local government to schedule the pre-submittal meeting within five business days of a request. Specifies four circumstances when an applicant would be able to request this kind of meeting: (1) the project plans and specifications for a building project are complete and sealed for construction, as applicable, by a licensed engineer or architect; (2) those plans and specifications are substantially identical to those that the applicant would submit for the permit application; (3) the applicant has made best efforts to compile and prepare documents required by local, state, and federal law; (4) the applicant has determined whether an at-risk permit option will be utilized.

Now requires the local government to complete its permit application review and issue a decision on the permit within 45 days, unless the local government and applicant otherwise agree. Provides for a ten-day extension if the government requests additional information or changes. Specifies that a local government may issue a permit decision within 60 days if the government issues an at-risk building permit at the request of the applicant.

Authorizes local governments to contract with licensed engineers or architects to perform an independent third-party plan review, so long as that person complies with the timeframes set forth above. Prohibits conflicts of interest in third-party plan reviews, including any financial interest in, or being employed, other than as a plan reviewer, by a business that has a financial interest in the furnishing of labor, material, or appliances for the construction, alteration, or maintenance of, or any involvement in the making of plans or specifications for, the project subject to plan review. Allows a permit applicant to elect to use a licensed professional engineer or architect for an independent third-party review if the local government is unable to meet the deadlines set forth above. Requires the local government to issue applicable building permits for the project within three business days and refund or waive all applicable plan review and permit fees for the project upon issuance of the applicable building permits once it receives a completed plan review with a certification that the project complies with all applicable Code provisions and other law.

Prevents local governments from delaying or denying the issuance of a permit based on its receipt of specifications or manufacturer engineering information on an element, component, or fixture.

Clarifies that a permit issued by a local  government under GS 160D-1110.1 will not be construed to guarantee the issuance of further building permits, development approvals, or certificates of occupancy by a local government, or other State or federal agencies, that a project requires. Provides that a local government and inspection department are discharged and released from any liabilities, duties, and responsibilities imposed by Article 11 of GS Chapter 160D, or in common law, from any claim arising out of, or attributed to, plans subject to a third-party independent review pursuant.

Makes conforming changes to GS 143-151.8(a)(3) (code enforcement); GS 143-151.13 (required standards and certificates for code enforcement officials); GS 113A-61 (local approval of erosion and sedimentation control plans); GS 160D-922 (erosion and sedimentation control); and GS 160D-1110, as amended by Section 16 of SL 2023-46 and Section 8.1(a) of SL 2023-90 (building permits).

Effective July 1, 2024, and applies to permit applications submitted on or after that date.

Makes organizational changes and conforming changes to the act’s titles.