Mills County Adopts Building Code

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By Joe Foreman, Editor

Mills County now has a building code in place.

A “building and property maintenance” ordinance adopted by the Mills County Board of Supervisors became law on Jan. 28. Among its many provisions, the building code requires builders and contractors to follow a permit and inspection process on all new construction and major renovation projects in unincorporated areas of the county.

JAS Consultants, a California-based municipal engineering firm, has been hired by the county to manage the Mills County Building and Safety Department from an office at the Mills County Engineer’s building in Glenwood. The new office opened its doors to the public Monday morning.

JAS regional manager and Glenwood building official Darin Whatcott gave a formal presentation on the building code process during an educational workshop in Glenwood last Wednesday. Approximately 30 local contractors and home builders attended the workshop.

The Mills County Building and Safety Department’s responsibilities, Whatcott said, will include managing the permit application process, plan review, inspections, code enforcement and code education. Whatcott stressed the education aspect of his job.

“The state is coming down and saying these things need to be followed, that’s why we’re here, to help educate,” Whatcott said.

Mills County Engineer Kevin Mayberry said the building code is an extension of the county’s recently-implemented zoning ordinances that deal with land use. Mayberry believes implementation of a building code is a step in the right direction for Mills County.

“Essentially, up to this point, if you wanted to build a house in Mills County, there were really no rules at all to follow,” Mayberry said.

With the building permit process comes building permit fees. Mayberry said the fee schedule put into place is based on valuation and project cost. For new home construction in Mills County, the fee would break down to slightly less than 1 percent, Mayberry said.

Construction of a new home valued at $250,000, for example, would carry fees of approximately $2,000.

JAS will receive 75 percent of the fees it collects.The remaining 25 percent will go to the county.

Whatcott noted that building permit applications will list all steps that must be taken before formal inspection of a project can be carried out.