Friday, January 13, 2006

Chinese Fire Drill

Wednesday's rebuilding master plan proposal has created a rush for homeowners to obtain building permits from the Office of Safety & Permits before any moritorium goes into effect. Confusion seems to reign among applicants as most are not aware that

...each person took a number and sat waiting until being summoned by a Safety and Permits staffer who demonstrated how to use city computers set up in the hallway to download damage assessments and get a building permit, as long as their damage was less than 50 percent.

One applicant was more complimentary:

...had high praise for the eighth-floor operation: "I was amazed how easy this was,"

FYI - Safety and Permits is on the seventh floor.

People need to be more informed of the facts as well as the process. Someone in city government - be it the Mayor or someone else - should be out front getting the correct information out to the public. Right now we sometimes see Mayor Nagin talking about rebuilding but it is rarely very informative.

Due to the massive extent of damage to homes, many homeowners who have little or no experience in obtaining building permits and with a lack of contractors - who often pull permits themselves - do-it-yourselfers can find the permit process overwhelming. As an architect who has pulled a few permits myself, the process has more often that not been akin to walking through a mine field.

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