Ordinance for Construction Impacts

New Ordinance to Address Construction-Related Impacts
On February 14, 2005 the City Council adopted a new ordinance which became effective on April 16, 2005 to address some of the impacts associated with construction projects, especially those which are long and/or poorly managed. This new ordinance has three main parts, including construction permit deposits, time limitations (with monetary penalties) for construction projects and a requirement for construction management, including pre-construction meetings and qualified job superintendents. It is hoped that this new ordinance will reduce the impacts to residents from construction projects which occur in their neighborhood.
 
Construction Completion Deposit HMC 15.30.070: Before a building permit may be issued, the property owner or his representative shall deliver to the building department a refundable deposit (in cash or in the form of a payment penalty bond) in the amount of two percent of the estimated value of the work as determined by the chief building official, but not less than a five hundred dollar ($500) deposit. Any bond shall be in the amount of the deposit and in form and contents satisfactory to the town and shall cover a minimum time period of the applicable time limit plus two years. If construction is completed (as defined in Sec 15.30.040) by the applicable time limit, the town shall refund the construction completion deposit or return the bond, together with any interest earned thereon. If a property owner fails to complete construction by the applicable time limit, the applicable penalties shall accrue daily.

Time Limits for Completion of Projects HMC Sect 15.30: The most significant part of this ordinance is the enactment of time limits for construction projects, based on job value, with monetary penalties for noncompliance. The ordinance includes requirements for the completion of construction projects, including new construction and modifications. The table included in the ordinance allows from 9 months to up to 36 months for completion of projects ranging in value from less than $50,000 to over $6,000,000. A second table (Section 15.30.060) identifies penalties for not completing the projects within the time allowed. Penalties start at $200 per day and go up to $1,000 per day.
Property owners will be required to submit a deposit before a permit is issued. If the time limits expire, the penalties would be charged against the deposit. When the job is completed, the unused deposit will be refunded. Should the penalties exceed the deposit, the ordinance contains provisions for collection and liens.
A hearing panel will consider appeals of the penalties and will have the authority to modify or cancel them if there are appropriate grounds, based on provisions of the ordinance.
 
Construction Management HMC Sect 15.26: This ordinance also contains new requirements for projects with an estimated value of $750,000 or more. Pre-construction meetings and on-site qualified job superintendents will be required. Pre-construction meetings, which include Building and Engineering Departments staff, provide a format to discuss with the contractor and property owner key management issues, such as construction parking, erosion control, and recycling, work hours, keeping a clean and neat site, and responding to neighbor’s issues. This meeting puts all those involved “on notice” as to what is going to be expected during the construction process.

There is also a requirement for an on-site qualified job superintendent. This person would act as the first contact for concerned neighbors and Town staff. As projects become more complex, and as many homeowners attempt to manage their own projects, there has been a need to have a qualified point person who is responsible and knowledgeable about the job that can answer questions, meet with staff on pre-construction meetings, and be available to neighbors who may have concerns about the project. This ordinance requires that a qualified superintendent, which is someone with substantial construction experience and substantial knowledge of the rules and methods of construction, is present to manage the job and be accountable to the Town.