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The following is an article in Omblogsman, a blog series by Jim Rawlinson, Regulatory and Permitting Ombudsman at Develop Indy, a business unit of the Indy Chamber. 

Hello, Everyone! Coronavirus has us all hunkered down and staying safe in our homes, and it’s changing the way we interact with business and government. If you’re like me, you are building a growing list of home projects you want to get done, and researching contractors to help you get them there. I wanted to update you on some of the changes happening with permitting and licensing as a result of COVID-19.

First, it’s good to know that construction and home repair work is considered essential business. In Marion County we are still under stay at home orders for at least another week. But your contractors and tradespeople are still out there working. While construction has continued on as safely as possible through the shutdown, some of the smaller sole proprietors, landscapers and others might be hurting and looking for work right now. And most of the work they do can be done safely while maintaining social distancing. So, give them a call and see what their schedules look like! As always, make sure anyone you hire is licensed and bonded before they do any work on your home.

As a heads up for your contractors and any of you DIYers, there have been some changes to how permits are being pulled. To protect the safety of the staff at the Department of Business & Neighborhood Services, as well as constituents, the lobby has been closed. It is very much encouraged that you submit your permits and licensing needs online. They are still taking paper submittals as drop offs at 1200 S Madison, but online submittals are getting priority over any of them. You can find out more and submit your permits here: https://www.indy.gov/agency/department-of-business-and-neighborhood-services

Also, it’s important to know that for the time being, non-emergency enforcement of civil violations has been suspended. The department is still taking complaints, and you can still report issues to the Mayors Action Center, but inspections and enforcement are suspended for now. Building inspections continue, so make sure you schedule those, and BNS is asking you to be mindful of safety and social distancing when inspectors are on your site. You can find a more detailed report on what is open and what isn’t during this time on the BNS website here: https://www.indy.gov/activity/bns-summary-of-services

Keep in mind that as things open up again, this could all be subject to change. But it’s a good opportunity to get to know the online submittal process. It’s the quickest, easiest way to get through things and allow you to get your projects going safely. And you can check to make sure your contractors are pulling the appropriate permits and keeping things on the up and up.

As always if you have questions or concerns, shoot me a call or an email! Stay safe, Indy!

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Questions? E-mail Jim at jrawlinson@indychamber.com.

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