Building Inspections COVID-2019 Update

The BIA has requested updates from local jurisdictions regarding changes in building permitting and inspections as a result of COVID-2019. Following is an update of those jurisdictions that have replied as of March 24, 6:00 p.m. As changes occur or new updates are received the BIA will update this article.

City of Cayce- The City of Cayce is not issuing permits at our permit counter.  Permits must be obtained at our drive window at Water Customer Service and we are verifying that any inspections for occupied residences have no one that is under Dr’s orders to stay home.  At this time, those are the only changes to our operations.  We will update if that status changes.
 Stuart Jones, Building Official

Town of Chapin - Permits, licensing and payment assistance will be handled online or by phone.

City of Columbia-
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Columbia has moved to a modified work schedule. All new and post construction submittals outside of City limits should be emailed to Engprojects@columbiasc.gov. All new and post construction submittals inside City limits should be handled by contacting the Development Center at (803) 545-3420. Please be advised that this modified work schedule includes limited staff working and will cause a delay in review and response time of development documents being sent to our Legal Department for approval. We will continue to do everything we can to keep the development projects moving along but we ask for your patience as we continue to work through this change in our process. Any questions and/or concerns you may have can be sent to the Engprojects@columbiasc.gov. (March 30)

Per a verbal communication on March 16, business as usual with limited staff.
Website post- "Permits, licensing and payment assistance will be handled online or by phone."

FOREST ACRES- "For the City of Forest Acres, we will require Contractors to provide the following information before an inspection will be scheduled:
For residential inspections (mostly remodels), this information must be provided:"

  1. Is anyone living in the home?
  2. If so, are they quarantined or have they been sick lately?
  3. We won’t go into any homes if only children are home.
  4. The contractor doesn’t need to be present for an inspection.
If this requested information is not provided, an inspection will not be scheduled.
J. Keith Lindler, P.E., City Engineer/Building Official
 
Kershaw County -
Planning and Zoning can be reached at 803.425.7233 or by email. Citizens and business owners can apply for a building permit online. Building inspections will continue as is practical, though approved 3rd party inspections will be accepted, with advance notice to the department.
(March 23,2020)
If at all possible, we ask that submitals of permits, building inspections, and projects occur online or over the phone. If you come to our physical location, you will be asked to scan your documents into our system to help eliminate the possible spread of the virus.
All online and over the phone permit processing will be done as normal.
All online payment fees will be waived until further notice.
All building inspections will be done on a case-by-case basis. Please be patient as our Building Official will review each inspection as it comes into our office. If you have any questions concerning inspections, please contact Rollie Reynolds at 803.425.7233 extension 4.
If you require further communication, our staff is available by email or phone to answer all your questions. Also, Kershaw County website will continual update the community as information is subject to change.
Kershaw County Planning and Zoning online permitting software: https://evolvepublic.infovisionsoftware.com/Kershaw/
Kershaw County Planning and Zoning contact: 803.425.7233 or https://www.kershaw.sc.gov/home

Town of Lexington - Due to the current situation with the Coronavirus, the Town of Lexington is closed to the public.  During the closure, we will continue to schedule and perform inspections as normal.  Obtaining residential permits will continue through the electronic submital process.  Commercial permitting and any residential permits that cannot be sent electronically will need to be placed in the drop box at Town Hall or delivered through the mail.  To schedule an inspection you may either utilize the online inspection procedure through our webpage at www.lexsc.com or call the inspection line at 803-358-7267.  To make a payment or if you have any questions please contact our permit tech at 803 356 5938.
 
Lexington County-
In an effort to ensure the health and well-being of our customers and staff, the Lexington County Administration Building will be closed to the public beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020 through April 3, 2020 and will be operating with staggered staffing levels during this time. Community Development staff is encouraging that contractors, builders, residents, and the like utilize our online system, BuildingDepartment.com, to submit building permit requests and payments.  Staff are also encouraging customers to submit their applications and plans to our office via buildinginspections@lex-co.com, if they do not have an account with BuildingDepartment.com.  Payments that cannot be made on BuildingDepartment.com may be submitted via mail to Lexington County Community Development – Building Inspections and Safety, 212 South Lake Drive, Suite 401, Lexington, SC  29072 or placed in the drop box in the form of check or money order.  Specific information pertaining the payment (address, contractor, permit number, etc.) should be included with these payments.   Large plans may be placed with the drop box located outside of the Administration Building.  If the plans are too large to place within the drop box, please call the office and a staff member will meet the applicant outside of the Administration Building and obtain the plans.  This initiative may delay normal review and inspection times which those in the building industry may be accustomed to. 
 Building Inspections during this timeframe will also be impacted, as follows:  
1.       Due to split staffing of inspectors, normal next day inspections may be delayed.  If an issue arises where there is a dire need where a delay would be detrimental, please advise the Clerks when scheduling and/or speak with the Building Official directly.
2.       All builders and contractors should notify the Building Official if any builders, sub-contractors, workers, or anyone on the job site has been exposed to COVID 19.
3.       Inspectors will not go into occupied structures without clear and concise information confirming that no one in the home has/currently been sick, experiencing symptoms, or has been exposed to illness.
4.       Inspectors will not go into homes with children under the age of 18, unless accompanied by an adult and for situations where the inspection is necessary for electrical, HVAC, or plumbing.
 
As the situation involving the COVID19 virus changes, additional measures may be implemented.  Staff are also encouraging similar measures for zoning, land development, landscape, and subdivision review and electronic submittals may be sent for these areas to cdcustomerservice@lex-co.com
Lexington County will begin emailing a copy of the permit card to the applicant once a permit has been approved and payment is received.  If someone does not receive one, please have them simply email buildinginspections@lex-co.com and request an electronic copy ( March 19)

Newberry County -
Permitting and inspections continue by appointment only (803 321-2166).  Office is otherwise closed to the public. (March 18)

Richland County - Let us reassure you that the new distancing guidelines, (inspectors will adhere to), will not impact our ability to complete the inspection process. We have briefed the inspection team on their responsibility to comply with the distancing guidelines.  The Inspectors are working directly with the site builders / superintendents to make sure the required inspections are being completed at the best times with limited number or no social gathering of the trades.
( March 24, 2020)

Richland County will hereby be limiting person to person contact for permitting and requesting inspections. Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of or online services to complete this process. Also we are aware we have what is considered to be a convince fee for online service request and we are working on suspending this we have not completed this process as of yet and would appreciate everyone’s patience until we can complete this.
 Entry into the Richland County facilitates will be restricted to one entry point and certain individuals may be denied access if they demonstrate signs of illness. 
 We are working diligently to insure we can provide quick and professional services as we attempt to protect our employees. (March 17,Randy Pruitt,Director, Richland County Government Operational Services)

For Richland County the following applies in regards to daily operations:
 All builders are asked to use the on-line ITrakit system.  If they do not have an account, contact the front counter via phone and they will set the builder up with an account.
  1. All paperwork / reports must be uploaded to the builders account; inspectors will not accept hard copies suing this period. 
  2. All builders should notify the Building Official if any builders, sub-contractors, or any one known to have been on the job sites has been exposed to the virus.
  3. Inspectors will not go into occupied structures ( mostly remodels, HVAC change-outs, etc..) without having a clear answer to the following questions; if anyone in the home is sick, has been sick or currently experiencing symptoms, finally if someone has been exposed to someone that has been sick with the virus.  
  4. Inspectors will not go into homes if children under 18 are present by themselves.  Home must have an adult of 18 years of age present with the children.  
MIKE ZAPRZALKA, CBO, Deputy Building Offical / Division Manager/Building Inspections
 
Sumter City and County -"As of this moment the Sumter City/County Building Inspections Department plans are to remain the same as normal. However, that could change depending on additional circumstances accordingly. However, if we have changes in daily Inspection procedures I will contact you."
Steve Campbell,  Sumter City - County, Building Director


City of West Columbia - The City of West Columbia’s Building Inspections and Planning Departments have modified services until further notice to protect citizens and minimize opportunities to spread COVID-19 in the community.  Those modifications are as follows:  
  • Access to public buildings will be restricted, as necessary.
  • Customer Service building access will be restricted.
  • All inspection requests are to be submitted via email to inspections@westcolumbiasc.gov .
  • Plan submittal and permit issuance are by appointment only.  Completed permits can also be paid for and issued at our drive-thru window.
  • Permits, licensing, and payment assistance will be handled online, by phone, or by appointment only
  • For the Building and Planning and Zoning Departments, call 803-939-3183
  • For Business Licensing, call 803-936-6285
 All field inspections will be conducted as requested on our normal schedule.  Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.
 For the latest updates, please visit the City's website at westcolumbiasc.gov, follow on social media: Facebook/WestColaSC, Instagram @westcolumbiasc, and Twitter @westcolumbiasc, or Constant Contact email blasts.