(AP Photo/Laura Rauch)
UPDATED 10.15.2012 by Julie Montanaro
Building permits in Tallahassee now come with a money back guarantee.
Starting today, folks building homes will have a thumbs up or a thumbs down on their applications within seven days.
There are about 300 new homes built within the Tallahassee city limits each year. Now homebuilders can file permit applications and expect an answer within seven business days or their money back.
'The City of Tallahassee sees that it's been a problem. It used to take two to four weeks to get a permit, you know, and it was the biggest thing not knowing when you're going to get that permit,
said Shane Lambert, Vice President of the Tallahassee Builders Association. "Now we know we're going to get it within seven business days and I can tell my client I'm going to have it withing seven business days," Lambert said.
The money back guarantee is now effective for all single family homes or duplexes. Any necessary changes will be reviewed in five days.
The city's director of growth management vows it will not compromise the thoroughness of the review.
'It doesn't compromise any of the rules. So it doesn't lower any of the environmental standards ot the building or safety standards whatsoever," said Tallahassee Growth Management Director Karen Jumonville.
The city will try out the money-back guarantee for one year and then decide whether it should become permanent.
"Time is definitely money. So if we can get started quicker, we can finish up quicker. That definitely is an advantage," said Blue Star Turn-Key construction manager Frank Richardson.
Jumonville says single family building permits cost about 500 dollars a piece and duplex permits cost about 1400 dollars a piece.
Tallahassee, FL - The City of Tallahassee today announced the unveiling of a new program for local homebuilders. As part of the City's ongoing efforts to streamline permitting and improve customer service, the City will guarantee a seven-day turnaround on a new single-family residential permit - and it includes a money back guarantee!
In June 2010, the City Commission approved a new "fast track" program within the City's Growth Management Department. This program set new performance standards that were designed to speed up pre-building permitting and site planning reviews without compromising quality, safety or environmental standards. By all measures, turnaround times have improved and, based on feedback from local builders, things are headed in the right direction.
…and now the City is taking that to the next level!
This new program, approved unanimously by the Tallahassee City Commission on Wednesday, October 10, will dramatically improve the process for seeking a new residential building permit for a single-family home, townhome or duplex on a single lot.
Here's how it works.
· A licensed builder brings in a permit application for a single-family residential home (or a duplex on a single lot) and pays the standard permitting fees.
· The City promises to complete the review within seven business days.
· At, or before, the end of the seventh business day, someone from the City will call or email the applicant to let them know that the permit has been approved or, if it hasn't been approved, comments explaining why it has not.
· If the applicant needs to alter or amend the application, upon resubmittal, the deadline will be shortened to only five business days.
· If the City fails to get back to the applicant as promised, related permitting fees will be refunded.
It's that simple…seven days…guaranteed.
"I am pleased to see our City continuing to make strides to be more efficient and to be as customer oriented as possible," stated Commissioner Andrew Gillum, who initiated the concept and serves as the lead commissioner on the City's Financial Viability Target Issue Committee. "I love the boldness of backing our commitment up with a money-back guarantee."
"We set out on a course several years ago to work hand in hand with local builders, and while this is not our first step in this process, it is clearly the most exciting," added Director of Growth Management Karen Jumonville. "A permit has many facets to it. We are pleased with the leadership of the Commission and the professionalism of the staff who have worked diligently to make this goal a reality"
This program is the first of its kind in the community. The official start date will be Monday, October 15, 2012, and it will extend for one full year.