Planners Take Step Toward Builder Accountability
Thursday, October 4, 2007 3:00 PM
Builders may soon have to register to be involved in projects in Kosciusko County.
The Kosciusko County Area Plan Commission Wednesday approved a recommendation that the county commissioners approve a builder registration ordinance. County Plan Director Dan Richard said the registration ordinance is a step toward requiring more accountability for those involved in construction, remodeling, demolition, addition and improvement projects within the county to uphold state building codes. Richard said the county commissioners requested the plan commission examine a registration ordinance for the county.
The registration form included in the ordinance requires builders to certify that all work they are involved in will comply with Indiana building codes. Several builders and homeowners voiced support for the ordinance.
Larry Stutzman, Winona Lake, said he thinks the ordinance is a good step toward protecting homeowners like himself. Stutzman told the plan commission he is involved in a lawsuit over state building code violations found in a house he purchased in 2004. Stutzman said the house was the builder's first in Kosciusko County.
"I'm 2-1/2 years into a lawsuit and no end in sight," Stutzman said. "I feel that at least getting builders to register, saying they'll uphold state codes is a good start so others don't get into this situation."
Home inspector Calvin Bolt said registration will encourage builders and other contractors to examine the building codes they pledge to uphold when they register.
"I like the beginning of this contractor registration because it will force builders who don't have an Indiana code book to buy one, and those who have one to read it," Bolt said.
Bolt said the county should continue to pursue higher accountability for builders. He said, eventually, he would like to see a licensing process with a required examination for builders to pass, showing their knowledge and understanding of state building codes.
"As a building inspector, I spend a lot of my work time educating builders on code issues they should already know about," he said. "If anything, this is almost more of a code awareness ordinance."
Builder Wendell Miller said he's in support of the registration ordinance. "We should already be doing this," he said.
The registration ordinance does not include a fee and only pertains to projects in the county's jurisdiction, not to those within town or city limits.
The county commissioners will consider the ordinance for final approval Oct. 16 at 9:30 a.m. in the Old Courthouse, Warsaw.