Proposed rules may affect many of our Alabama Public Education and State Agency Clients
Yesterday afternoon, the Alabama Building Commission (BC) approved a resolution allowing them to charge user fees including a plan review fee, permit fee, and some additional fees such as a contract document administration fee. It is our understanding that while the BC has had the authority to charge fees (Code of AL §41-9-141 (a) (8)) for years, budget shortfalls have now led it to propose doing so. We believe adequate funding is important to keep the Building Commission running. If the funding mechanism shifts to charge each project, you need to be aware of that. This isn’t unprecedented though; our healthcare clients, for example, pay plan review fees to the AL Dept. of Public Health.
Please click here for a copy of the proposed rules. The fees are calculated based on a tiered value of the construction cost and will increase in proportion to the project’s costs. The contract document administration fee is 1/2% of construction cost. For example, a $2,000,000 locally-funded K-12 project would be subject to a $2,330 plan review fee and a $4,660 permit fee ($6,990 total). If the project in the example above is PSCA-funded or a community college project, where the BC is required to administer the contract documents, then the contract document administration fee would be $10,000 (total of all three applicable fees = $16,990). As you can see, these fees add-up and need to be factored into project cost budgets. As an aside, these fees are doubled if the work starts without BC approval, so be careful to follow proper procedures (it is our job to help you do that).
The proposal (please see attachment) will now be issued for public comment. Once comments are received, the Commission will have to meet again to grant final approval of the fees and process. We do however anticipate this change is going to happen. Provided the user fees are ultimately approved, they will most likely take effect for projects beginning the process on or after October 1, 2014.
Aho Architects tries to stay as current as we can on developments like this which affect our clients. We will continue to monitor this and do what we can to help you comply with- and budget for- these added costs. I hope you’ll consider us your trusted advisors.
Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or need anything else.
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