Emergency Relaxation of Uniform Construction Code Inspections and Other Related Legislation

As the State continues to address the COVID-19 State of Emergency, the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs has issued a temporary relaxation of certain provisions of the Uniform Construction Code.  Those provisions are as follows:

  1. Minor Work as set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.17(A)(d) customarily requires municipal inspection within 3 business days of the request.  The timeframe for such inspections has been extended and now must be performed within 30 days of the expiration of Executive Order No. 103.
  1. N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.18 customarily requires construction officials to perform preliminary inspections, inspections during the progress of work and final inspections.  Except for emergency work pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.14(b)(3), inspections for outstanding permits have been deferred due to local enforcement agencies closing.  Upon reopening, construction officials will perform Certificate of Continued Occupancy (CCO) inspections on all outstanding permits where inspections have been delayed.  CCO inspections are limited to those portions of the building visible at the time of inspection.  Portions of the construction no longer visible will only be uncovered if there is probable cause that a life-safety violation exists.  In the event the building has never received a Certificate of Occupancy (i.e. new construction, additions to existing buildings, etc), a CCO will not be issued.  Instead a request will need to be made to the Department of Community Affairs for a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO).  Once the building is occupied under the TCO, a final Certificate of Occupancy will need to be obtained in compliance with N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.23.
  1. Any inspections in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.18 must be performed within 90 days of the expiration of Executive Order No. 103.
  1. During the effective period of Executive Order No. 103, local enforcement agencies can also initiate a CCO inspection pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.23.  Customarily, these inspections are only performed when requested by the property owner.  This will give construction officials more latitude to inspect constructions projects where they feel it is necessary to do so.

Links to the Notice and Memorandum to Construction Officials from the DCA can be found here:
https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/alerts/pdfs/COVID_RelaxMod.pdf
https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/alerts/pdfs/COVID_memo.pdf

Lastly, the New Jersey Assembly just passed legislation that would allow the Director of the Division of Local Governments to extend deadlines affecting the finances of local governments including the Municipal Land Use Law.  This could mean that municipalities will be given time beyond the statutory time frames to decide an application.  Or the expiration of approvals could be tolled similar to what occurred with the Permit Extension Act which New Jersey enacted due to the state of the economy in 2008.  The Senate has yet to act on this legislation.  We will continue to monitor this legislation and advise you accordingly.  A copy of the proposed bill is found here: https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A4000/3902_I1.HTM.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions concerning the above material.

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