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July 2012

New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Changes Procedure for Certain Construction Permits

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (“DCA”) has issued an amendment to the Uniform Construction Code that revises the procedure related to the issuance of certain construction permits. Known as the “Plan Release with Conditions,” the new rule is designed to address the economic impact related to the delays associated with multiple reviews of plans for alteration and reconstruction projects of buildings in Use Groups B (Business), F (Factory), M (Mercantile) or S (Storage).

The new rule is designed to enable business owners and project managers to predict with greater accuracy the occupancy dates of a building, thus controlling costs associated with delays. Renovations or alterations arising from a change in tenancy shall be subject to plan review pursuant to the pre-existing rule. However, the new rule permits substantially code compliant plans to be ‘released with conditions’ that identify any deficiencies in writing and indicate an understanding that such deficiencies will have been corrected and the project will be code compliant upon inspection. A timeframe for corrections of deficiencies will be clearly established in the conditions.

Release of the plan with conditions will require written acceptance by the permit applicant of said conditions. Upon providing written acceptance to the reviewing authority, the permit shall be acted upon.

If you have questions about the new rule or a project or activity that you believe would be assisted by this recent change, we would be pleased to discuss the situation with you.