Board receives code advisory report

Published 7:56 pm Tuesday, June 24, 2008

No substantial changes to county building codes came out of the initial report of the Building Code Advisory Board that was presented yesterday to county supervisors.

Advisory board member Marcia Johnson said the changes proposed dealt with administrative processes and that more substantive issues would be considered later. In addition to Johnson, the other members are Curt Stasny, Reese Moody, Malcolm Perry and Derwin Whitfield.

The advisory board had been formed by county supervisors to review the codes in light of criticisms about the codes and their implementation.

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Changes suggested in the advisory board’s review briefly outlined by Johnson were:

— Individual building plan reviews had been taking 5-7 days and the board narrowed that to two days. Commercial plans will require a full set of blueprints with an engineer and architectural stamp, but sketch plans would be allowed for additions. One set of plans will be on file in building inspector’s office and one set on the job site.

— Inspections are now consolidated, Johnson said. Originally there had been 17 separate inspections but the committee proposed consolidating them to three to five inspections. She said all inspectors are being cross-trained to allow inspections to be completed in a more timely fashion.

“When one (inspector) goes out, he can do everything,” Johnson said.

Planning director Ed Pinero said consolidating inspections did not mean an elimination of a type of inspection, such as plumbing or electrical, only that they would be done at one time.

“What we’re doing is consolidating our travel time and instead of having four different individuals look at it, … by cross-training … they can do it at one time.”

He says that saves mileage and time.

Supervisor Anthony Hales said he just wanted to be sure that the inspections are being continued because “it’s a big responsibility when you go out and do an inspections and lives could be endangered, property could be endangered if its not done right.”

Pinero said photos now are being made during the inspections and those are placed with the individual file as an additional safeguard for checking that the inspection was done.

“The attitude of your building inspectors is what’s going to really make this work, and you’ve got some really good inspectors,” Moody said. “They’ve got some common sense and they’re applying it and I appreciate it.”

— Johnson says the site inspection — that inspection done before any work is started — has been eliminated unless the site is in a flood zone, or if the inspection is requested by the developer or owner.

— Another inspection eliminated is that of temporary power poles. According to the committee there were two opinions about those inspections. There was a matter of time involved in getting the poles up and then scheduling getting them inspected, with the home owner or developer waiting in the meantime. On the other hand the committee considered that there are safety concerns by not having the inspection of temporary power poles required.

Johnson also said all building contractors in Pearl River County should be required to be licensed by the state of Mississippi.

“You can still build your own home and all that,” she said, but this move is an effort to keep out “so many out-of-state contractors coming in, like we had after the storm (Katrina).”

Pinero said other states do not recognize a Mississippi contractor’s license.

Johnson said while there may be small code changes considered at some point, there would be no changes in those pertaining to wind and flood.

“We are going to be meeting and making changes to amend some of the codes — NOT the wind and flood,” Johnson said.

The board thanked the committee for its work and Pinero said every person on the committee had attended all of the scheduled meetings.

Supervisors accepted the report “as recommendations from the advisory committee” by a unanimous vote of the four remaining members of the board. Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith left before the vote was taken.

In other matters, the board:

— Set Friday, July 4 as Independence Day holiday for the county.

— In sheriff’s department personnel matters authorized appointing Regina Pearson as deputy receiving clerk; accepted a seized/forfeited vehicle and $11,160 in funds; authorized purchase of 21 new gas masks for $650.35 and other technical gear from a Homeland Security Grant.

— On motion of Supervisor Patrick Lee and second of Supervisor Hudson Holliday approved renaming of Poplarville-Pearl River County Airport as Virgil O. Burge Airport.

— Authorized final payment on re-roofing of courthouse contingent on receiving warranty documentation.

— Noted that plans for the Chimney Square building in Picayune should be ready in about two weeks.

— Approved issuing $4,000 check as matching funds with Pearl River Basin Development District for Beaver Control Assistance program.

— Approved payment of $3,000 to attorney Ronal Welch for jail inspection.

— Received five bids for generator site hookups for 10 Poplarville sites and 11 Picayune sites and took the bids under advisement. After review, the board accepted MD Electric’s bid of $134,000. An irregularity in the lowest bid of Don’s Electric LLC prevented its acceptance, according to the board.

— Approved requisition to grant funds of $2,395.75 for a back up generator kit for Picayune Fire Dept. #1.

— Approved purchase of $120 half-page advertisement in Maroon Tide football program advertising county resources.

— Went into a brief executive session on three matters of pending litigation, but on coming out of executive session the only action authorized was for negotiation of the purchase of the former Jr. Food Mart lot on the north side of the courthouse.

Adjourned until 9 a.m. July 7.