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Georgia Governor Passes Order Altering Inspection Regulations for Residential Builders During COVID-19 Emergency

Posted on: April 8th, 2020

By: Tom Ward

Governor Brian Kemp recently passed an executive order allowing residential builders to immediately employ private inspectors to perform required plan reviews or inspections without having to wait out the time frames required by O.C.G.A. 8-2-26(g)(4).

The relevant text of the Order, which can be accessed by this link (https://gov.georgia.gov/executive-action/executive-orders/2020-executive-orders), provides as follows: 

Whereas: Counties and municipalities responsible for regulating inspections of buildings or similar structures to ensure compliance with the state minimum standard codes have smaller workforces and cannot meet the demand for inspections in this State…

It is ordered: That because of limited staffing and increasing wait times, I have determined that all counties and municipalities in this state that regulate inspections of buildings or similar structures to ensure compliance with the state minimum standard codes in accordance with Code Section 8-2-26 may not be able to provide regulatory action or inspection within the time frames required by Code Section 8-2-26(g)(4). Therefore, it is hereby ordered that all applicants seeking plan review or inspections in these cities and counties pursuant to Code Section 8-2-26 are not required to wait out the time frames required by Code Section 8-2-26(g)(4) and have the option of retaining “private professional provider[s]” immediately to provide the required plan review or inspection in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 8-2-26(g)(5). The Order does not otherwise amend or abate the requirements of Code Section 8-2-26, nor does it suspend the enforcement of its provisions.

Thus, instead of requiring residential builders to wait the state mandated timeframes (30 calendar days for plan review and 2 business days for an inspection) before retaining a private inspector under O.C.G.A. 8-2-26(g)(4), the builder can immediately employ a private inspector to perform the required review or inspection. 

It is important to note that special fees apply for employing private inspectors under O.C.G.A. 8-2-26(g)(4), which, by statute, should not exceed more than fifty percent of the required regulatory fee. The fee for private plan review and inspection are set by the local permitting authority.

Moreover, only the local permitting authority can issue the certificate of occupancy, so it imperative to hire only qualified and experienced private inspectors who will pay special attention to the documentation required for issuance of the certificate of occupancy.

Free public access to the full text of O.C.G.A. 8-2-26(g) can be accessed via LexisNexis using the following link: http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/gacode/default.asp  

Additional Information:

The FMG Coronavirus Task Team will be conducting a series of webinars on Coronavirus issues on a regular basis. Topics include COVID-19’s impact on finances and loans, the FFCRA, the CARES Act and more. Click here to view upcoming webinars.

FMG has formed a Coronavirus Task Force to provide up-to-the-minute information, strategic advice, and practical solutions for our clients.  Our group is an interdisciplinary team of attorneys who can address the multitude of legal issues arising out of the coronavirus pandemic, including issues related to Healthcare, Product Liability, Tort Liability, Data Privacy, and Cyber and Local Governments.  For more information about the Task Force, click here.

You can also contact your FMG relationship partner or email the team with any questions at [email protected].

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