On June 29, 2015 Ashland City Engineer Shane Kremser revealed the formation of the Ashland Residential Building Department to a group of contractors at the Ashland Area Contractor Trades Connection meeting, effective immediately. The resulting changes due to the formation of this department will be familiar to contractors that work on commercial projects, as Richland County has had jurisdiction over Ashland for several years, but will require some adjustment from companies and individuals that primarily provide residential construction services.
One of the most noticeable changes this department will bring is the requirement for homeowners and/or contractors to pull permits, pay the associated fees and receive inspections for a wide range of residential construction projects, including those they do themselves. In addition to furnace, air conditioner, heat pump and water heater installations and replacements, most new construction, alterations and equipment replacement projects performed in your home will now require a permit (i.e. fences, siding, sidewalks, etc.). Permit fees will range from $50 to several hundred dollars depending on the size and scope of the particular project. Additional details can be found here in the handout distributed to each contractor present at the 6/29 meeting. Mr. Kremser indicated that a part time inspector has been hired by the city to perform inspections on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays however provisions have been made for permits to be pulled and inspections performed after the fact for emergency replacements.
One thing that will not change is the requirement for all contractors performing work in the City of Ashland to be registered with the building department. By hiring a contractor registered with the City of Ashland you can be sure that they meet or exceed the City's standards for liability insurance, municipal income tax, bureau of workers compensation and proper licensure. In the event a contractor performing work in your home causes a construction accident/damage or bodily harm to themselves or someone else without proper insurance, the homeowner can be held liable for legal and financial damages. For an example of the contractor registration from click here, and for a list of registered contractors in the City of Ashland click here. Additionally, the homeowner can rest easy knowing that the work in their home has been completed, inspected and tested in accordance with the applicable codes.
In the event the city becomes aware of an unregistered contractor performing work in the city or a project that requires a permit that hasn't been pulled, the homeowner is ultimately held responsible and will receive an adjudication letter from the city. In other words, it is the homeowner's responsibility to ensure that the contractors they hire are in good standing with the local municipality.
In order to make sure your contractor is protecting you from unnecessary liability, below is a list of questions to consider asking a contractor performing work on your home:
- Are you registered to perform work in the City of Ashland?
- Have you or are you planning to pull the necessary permits for the work you are proposing to do?
- Are you licensed to perform they type of work you are proposing to do?
- Do you have any references for performing similar services from other residents in the area?
Finally, the City has acknowledged that their website (http://www.ashland-ohio.com/engineering-division/building-and-zoning) will require updating to include permit application forms, FAQs and rules and regulations similar to those provided at the meeting. In the meantime, feel free to call Ashland Comfort Control in regards to any HVAC, Plumbing or Fireplace work you are considering in your home and we will be happy to help walk you through this new process.