Leeds Announces a New Self-Certification Program for Contractors - The City of Leeds Council voted to amend and supplement their city building and construction ordinance at a special called council meeting tonight. This modification to the existing ordinance will enable the launch of a self-certification program for certified home builders and certified general contractors to simplify the permitting and licensing processes for those contractors who wish to participate. This new program will mainly affect home construction and remodeling which will allow certified contractors to sign a document that certifies that they will follow the building codes, self-inspect and self-report to speed up the permitting and licensing process.
Mayor David Miller made a video statement this afternoon as follows, “We are trying to get the word out on a massive new program that the City of Leeds is undertaking and one that we believe will be a game-changer for our contractors. It has been a long-standing perception that it is very difficult to get a permit or license in Leeds and we wanted to address that.
It turns out that our procedures are the same as other cities, but there are nuances in the way things are handled that can make a big difference as to how efficient that system is and that’s what this new system will address.
I got a group of contractors together and after many meetings, we have come up with a new program that I think is going to be great for everybody that wants to participate. This is a program that will minimize the oversight of city inspectors and place the responsibility for inspection and completion on the contractors to the maximum extent that is allowed by the codes and the laws.
This is a system that was essentially designed by our contractors to help contractors. It is totally voluntary and to participate in it, you have to be either a certified homebuilder or a certified general contractor. Again, it’s voluntary and nobody has to participate that does not want to participate in this program, but it will allow our contractors to do what they said is their main problem. They want to be able to come in the door, apply for a permit and walk out the door the same day with that permit in hand and that’s what this is designed to facilitate.
The program is on-going and has the support of the home builders’ association and our local contractors. It is very similar to the program that a couple of other states have had in place for a long time. The state of Florida and the state of Texas have a program very similar to this and it is state-wide. This program will only affect Leeds and we think it will affect it in a really good way that will address the concerns of our contractors.”
While other cities in the state of Alabama are considering a self-certification program or in the process of implementing a similar program, the City of Leeds is the first city in the state to carry the program to this extent from commercial to residential.
A contractor may choose to certifies jobs on a case-by-case basis or may choose to certify at the beginning of a year for all jobs being performed within the City of Leeds. If the contractor happens to work on a job that requires city inspections due to the customer, mortgage lender or other third-party entity, the contractor can elect to involve the city on that particular job while continuing in the program for other jobs.
There is no extra charge for participating so the permitting fees remain the same. At the end of the job, you will certify that you have the proper credentials, that all of the work has been done to code, self-inspect and you will receive your certificate of occupancy.
“The mayor, recognizing the issues relating to inspections in the city and wanting to seek a solution, directed people with a stake in the issue including local professionals, home builders’ association and others to find a solution to the problem. We worked together with all of those individuals and identified the best and most effective way in what’s coming in a cutting-edge type of resolution to develop a self-certification program for the qualified builder, whether a general contractor or a home builder. We feel like this is a great solution that benefits everybody at their choosing. You may still choose the traditional program or you may choose the self-certification program and you can do it on an individual case-by-case basis, if you choose to. We feel like this is a really good solution that benefits everyone,” shared City Attorney, Johnny Brunson.
For more information about this new self-certification program, please contact the City of Leeds Development Services at 1404 9th Street, Leeds, AL 35094.