Recap of the 2013 Georgia General Assembly by Niel Dawson
The 2013 Georgia Legislative session was one of the most active for bills relating to the construction industry that I have seen in my 17 years with the IEC! Fortunately, we are part of a coalition - the Specialty Contractors Coalition (SCC) that has a lobbyist (Lee Lemke) who was very much on top of these bills, and in the end, I believe we came out in very good shape. We also worked very closely with the entire construction industry, including the plumbers, HVAC and general contractors.
First, I would like to point out a few in particular that are very beneficial to us:
- HB 434 on Liens - This legislation clarifies that contractors/subcontractors have lien rights for the full amount of the contract for work successfully completed that is owed and due, including the general condition costs that a court had previously ruled were not lienable.
- SB 179 on PLAs - Last year Dekalb County put out a contract on county work that required a PLA (Project Labor Agreement/Union only), which probably only be the start of more to come. This legislation (assuming the Governor signs the bill) will not allow a PLA on contract that includes state funds. The AFL-CIO is already mounting pressure on the Governor not to sign the bill - you need to urge him to sign it!
- HB 361 on paycheck protection - If an employee chooses not to be part of a union, then unions can not require an employer to take money out of an employee's paycheck (not yet signed by the Governor).
- HB 188 on veteran's licensing - This legislation (already signed by the Governor) allows veterans to receive their electrical license IF they meet certain testing and experience requirement in the military that are comparable to those that civilians must meet.
Here's a comprehsensive list of bills that effect our industry from the 2013 session.
Atlanta City Council Adopts New Permitting & Inspections Reform
Earlier this year, representatives of Atlanta’s Building Department met with IEC Board President and ED Niel Dawson, as well as other trade organizations, explaining their efforts to reform the building department. One of the most important components of the reform package was the establishment of an Enterprise Fund for the Department, versus the current process that charges and collects fees that are deposited into the city’s general fund. Additionally, one other important component is the use of combination inspectors that will be phased in.
On November 7, 2011 the Atlanta City Council passed the final two ordinances of the Office of Buildings building permit reform package. This final milestone is the culmination of almost a year’s worth of work by the City of Atlanta and the development community to bring about positive reforms within the Atlanta Office of Buildings. The building permit reform package and office restructuring will implement innovative methods to provide a better customer experience for the construction industry.
The building reform permit package will:
-Establish an Enterprise Fund where fees collected for the services provided will remain within the Office of Buildings for training and technology upgrades
-Update permit fees to support the improved permitting process and maintain training within the division
-Form an Enterprise Fund Committee to provide oversight and accountability to the Office of Buildings
-Authorize the Chief Financial Officer to transfer funds from FY 2012 general fund anticipations and appropriations to the Enterprise Fund
-Consolidate all permitting functions under one entity improving Atlanta’s Insurance Services Organization (ISO) rating
-Clarify how the Board of Zoning Adjustments will operate after the consolidation of functions of various agencies that regulate permitting and zoning such as the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and Department of Watershed Management into the Office of Buildings
-Train staff in International Code Council standards where they will receive $2,000 for each certification that is received and maintained
-Allow staff to perform multiple inspections under the combination inspector program.
The reforms will be phased in over the next year. You can learn more by reading the building reform package ordinances at the links below.
Changes to Lien Law now in effect!
Time-lines and Other information in the Lien Process: