What you need to know
- New Jersey’s Uniform Construction Code was amended to provide expedited inspections of construction projects in the state.
- The revised Building Code, when implemented, will provide property owners and contractors with the ability to use a licensed private inspection firm if the inspection process is delayed by public building officials.
- The Department of Community Affairs is expected to adopt rules and regulations within the next 6 to 9 months to implement the UCC revisions, which will take effect immediately upon adoption of those rules and regulations.
On January 5, 2023, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law amending the state’s Uniform Construction Code Act (UCC) to provide expedited construction inspections. With this law, homeowners and contractors will soon have help ensuring the smooth progress of construction in the face of overburdened public housing agencies that delay inspections.
The act provides that public housing agencies (identified in the law as “enforcement agencies”) must perform inspections within three business days of requesting an inspection. If a landlord or contractor has provided at least 24 hours’ written notice to an executive agency with a requested inspection date and the agency cannot perform the requested inspection within three business days or other acceptable date, the The property owner or contractor may engage a private inspection company authorized by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and may use such private inspection company to conduct all subsequent associated inspections. The owner of the property must notify the executive body of this choice and provide information on the controlling private company.
Furthermore, in the event that the executive body demonstrates a repeated impossibility to carry out the inspections on time, as established by the new legislation to be adopted soon, the owner or the contractor of the building can ask the DCA for authorization to make use of a private inspection company for future inspections. The DCA will then have fifteen working days to advise on the matter and determine whether the owner or contractor can use a private inspection firm for all or part of the inspections required for the remainder of the project.
A property owner may not use a private inspection company affiliated with that owner or his contractor, and any use of a private inspection company is subject to the conflict of interest provisions of the UCC.
If warranted, the executive agency should provide a rate reconciliation to the property owner at the end of the project, to ensure the owner is not overcharged by the local agency if private inspectors are needed. Fee reconciliation will be based on fees already paid less any administrative costs to the executive agency and may not exceed the amount already paid for the project or the amount the agency is authorized to charge for an inspection.
The executive agency must establish a process to ensure that inspections are performed within three business days, including the use of shared service agreements with other agencies or contracts with private on-site inspection agencies. DCA will also require executive agencies to notify their staff in an annual report to DCA, and DCA may impose sanctions or other corrective action if the executive agency fails to maintain adequate staffing levels or otherwise fails to comply with the law .
The DCA will adopt rules and regulations within the next 6-9 months to implement the law, which will go into effect immediately upon the adoption of those DCA rules and regulations. The law and related regulations are expected to provide better and faster inspections to avoid current delays in the construction process.
We will keep track of upcoming DCA rules and regulations related to the revised UCC and keep you informed accordingly.