Naming an active Kingman builder, architect and engineer to the three vacancies on the City of Kingman Building Appeals Board is a key to resolving tension between contractors and the city, according to local developer Bill Nugent.
"We are making good progress on the issues," Nugent said.
"It is critical that the council appoint the three recommended.
All are active, licensed participants in the industry who talk daily with the building department."
A select committee of council members, city staff and contractors met several times to identify the issues and possible solutions.
The issues reported to the city council by Community Development Director Dennis Roberts include delays in sending out plans for checking and time delays on changes that must go back to the architect or engineer.
The name, function and mission statement of the Building Board of Appeals is an another issue.
"This is not contractors versus the city.
Every business in town pays the cost of commercial building and remodeling.
If we are going to have a place for our kids to stay and work, Kingman has to grow and we have to make that easier," contractor Toby Orr said.
Orr serves on the Mohave County Board of Appeals and was on the Kingman board 20 years ago.
He said the county panel consists of an active engineer, an architect, a contractor, a plumber and an electrician as well as a person not employed in the building trades.
"The members of the county board are active in the industry and face the issues in the field every day," Orr said.
"The Board of Appeals is a part of the Uniform Building Code and provides due process for anyone not satisfied with a building decision," said City Building Official George Lutz.
"The board must follow strict guidelines and rules of procedure."
Section 105.2 of the 1997 Uniform Building Code limits the authority of the Board of Appeals.
The code says the board, "shall have no authority relative to interpretation of the administrative provisions of this code nor shall the board be empowered to waive requirements of the code."
Orr said a single board can work and can adjourn into an appeals mode when needed.
"I am a 100 times more apt to be sued as a contractor than any city official.
I want to follow codes, but there are 1,000 pages of codes and more than one way to do things within the code," he said.
Nugent said the contractors have no quarrel with the building codes and work with the same uniform code on every job .
The city has adopted state and national codes with some minor modification
Nugent said the contractors had requested a separate advisory board to meet with the building department to make recommendations to the city council.
At one time, the local contractors' association worked with the city building staff but the association is no longer active in Kingman.
City Manager Lou Sorensen suggested the expansion of the Board of Appeals mission statement to include the communication and advisory functions the contractors deem as needed to improve relationships with the city building officials.
Roberts said it would make sense for the Board of Appeals to discuss its role and mission after the vacancies are filled.
The board would make recommendations to the city council for changes.
At the Dec.
18 city council meeting, Councilman Phil Moon told the contractors that he intends to stay with the issue until it is solved.
"I do not want you to think the council is not interested," he said.
"I am like a dog with a bone and will not let this go until we find a satisfactory solution."
Moon said Kingman must be known to contractors as a good place in which to build.
"At the same time, we will stay between the lines and enforce the building codes," Moon said.
Orr introduced a "partnering" concept to the council and staff that he has discussed with Moon.
The concept gets together the owner, builder, city staff, architect and/or engineer and any others at the beginning of the job to build a cooperative attitude.
"I like the concept and believe it will help everyone get the best building at the best price for all concerned," Moon said.
"I am looking forward to see it work."
Roberts is scheduled to give a report at the Jan.
2 council meeting with a summary of the select committee meetings and options for solutions for the council to discuss and adopt.
An agenda item to appoint new members to the board of appeals could be delayed while the council considers options.