New Jersey bill would allow companies to hire private code inspectors when local enforcement agency cannot complete timely inspection

(The Center Square) – The New Jersey Senate signed off on a bill to allow property owners to hire a private firm to perform a Uniform Construction Code inspection if a local enforcement agency cannot complete one in a timely fashion.

Assembly Bill 4850 would codify that a local enforcing agency must perform an inspection within three business days of an owner’s request. However, if the enforcement agency cannot complete one within three business days “of the time for which it was requested,” property owners could hire a private firm to perform the inspection.

The Assembly unanimously approved the measure in March, and it now heads to Gov. Phil Murphy for his consideration.

“Building a home or development in New Jersey can be expensive and time consuming,” New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor said in a news release. “Delays caused by the inability to obtain local inspections only drive up the cost of development.”

Additionally, the bill would allow construction permit applicants to pay a fee to have an inspection performed within two calendar days of the time requested. The premium fee would be set at $100 per inspection unless a municipality establishes alternative pricing.

“This bill would help eliminate some of these delays by establishing an expedited inspection program to ensure inspections are done within two business days,” Cantor added.

Under the bill, the Department of Community Affairs would license private companies as “a private inspection agency.” The process would be similar to one the Department of Environmental Protection uses.

“The bill implements this process by leveraging the private sector, similar to the way the successful Licensed Site Remediation Professionals program operates to help effectuate timely cleanups of contaminated sites in New Jersey,” Cantor said. “We encourage the Legislature to pass more laws like this, ones that lower the cost of doing business in the state while still being protective of public health and safety.”

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