In New Jersey, it is very typical for a municipality’s building department to refuse to accept a developer’s construction drawings until the developer has received all of its local, county, state, and other applicable agency approvals (e.g. site plan approval, an NJDEP permit; or an NJDOT permit). This should not be happening.
In 2009, the section of the Uniform Construction Code dealing with plan review was amended to state:
[i]f required State, county, or local prior approvals have not been granted, plan review shall proceed provided that the application for permit is otherwise complete and the plan review fee has been paid. No permit shall be issued until all State, county and local approvals are in place.
There is an exception for owner-occupied one and two family home additions or alterations, which must have zoning approval before plan review can proceed.
Some of the positive impacts of this amendment to the NJ Uniform Construction Code (some of which are noted by the Department of Community Affairs) are:
|1. Developers will be able to determine earlier in the process whether or not there construction drawings need to be revised;
2. If revisions to construction drawings are required, they can be addressed concurrently while other land use approvals are pending; and
3. Developers can save time and expedite the building permit process, which may also lead to cost savings by developers and property owners as their project may start generating revenue sooner.
Next time a building department refuses to review your plans because you have outstanding approvals on the local, county or State levels, make sure you let them know that they are obligated to do so under the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code.