Building codes enforcement gets applause

Friday, December 5, 2008

Brief, but decidedly unexpected applause followed one of the routine department reports at the most recent meeting of Marshall County commissioners.

"Things have been allowed that cannot continue," said Don Nelson, the county zoning administrator who's been leading the Codes Department as commissioners hired a new building inspector.

"There's light at the end of the tunnel," Nelson said about enforcement of "sound construction principles" that are followed for the general safety of the public and building trades.

Amid recent staff changes, county commissioners have held lengthy Codes Committee meetings in recent months as building inspection procedures were changed and departmental practices examined.

Construction permits already issued won't be altered, Nelson said. He's sought a practical resolution to issues that have been discussed among commissioners at Codes Committee meetings.

Among the changes is to be a return of the Codes Enforcement Office to the County Courthouse Annex on Lewisburg's public square. Less than two years ago, it had been moved o the Hardison Annex on College Street.

Meanwhile, a series of monthly meetings for contractors is to begin this week, Nelson said. Plumbing issues will be the first topic for the regular sessions to be held at 5:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month.

"We'll stay as long as it takes," Nelson said shortly before introducing John Price to the Commission.

Price is a former Franklin city building inspector who's had decades of experience in the construction industry in Middle Tennessee. He was hired by the Codes Committee. Nelson said there were several other qualified applicants, but Price had more experience.

Six plumbing systems are being discussed among construction tradesmen and county building officials with the apparent endorsement of commissioners.

"We're getting together with the Realtors, too," Nelson said.

Real estate salesmen and women and brokers have come to Codes Committee meetings out of concern for timely completion of building inspections.

Given economic issues in the housing industry, Realtors have been particularly interested in getting their product available to the few willing buyers they have, according to discussion during a committee meeting.

"During these tight times," Nelson said, "we need to get these buildings closed."

Commissioner Don Ledford commended Nelson after the zoning administrator concluded his oral report to the monthly meeting of the County Commission.

The brief round of applause then came from among the 18 commissioners present.