Monday, August 2, 2021

Protect Yourself When Hiring Contractors

Are you hiring a contractor for storm repairs, remodeling your home or putting in a pool? If so, here are a few tips you may want to consider when selecting a contractor to ensure you financially protect yourself and make sure that the work completed meets all required building code standards.

Tips on Contractor Selection

  • Do background research on the contractor you are interested in hiring. Ask the contractor for a list of work previously performed that is like your project. Ask for references and check them. Verify the contractor’s place of business by researching on the web. Check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaint records on your contractor.
  • Make sure you get a written and signed scope of work with price included. Examine the scope of work covered, warranties and exclusions.
  • Never pay for a project in advance. Be wary of any contractor requesting total payment upfront before any work starts. A small retainer fee or payment for materials may be appropriate.
  • It is recommended that you not pay in cash, and generally, your check should be written to a company and not an individual. Paying with a credit card may provide some recourse should the job not be completed or meet code requirements. Also, make sure your contractor is adequately insured. If the work requires a City permit, do not pay the contractor in full until the City has inspected the work and given approval.
  • Be wary of a contractor who advises that the City does not require permits or inspections. While this may be true in some cases, most plumbing, electrical, mechanical, irrigation, and remodel work require a City permit. A permit ensures your contractor is registered with the City, has the necessary license(s) to perform the job and the City will conduct an inspection of the work once completed.
  • Be especially wary of contractors suggesting that the property owner obtain the necessary permits for their work. The property owner then becomes responsible for the work.
  • Verify that the contractor is licensed by asking them to produce credentials. The State of Texas requires that electricians, plumbers, heating and air conditioning contractors and irrigation contractors be licensed. They must carry the license on their person and their vehicles must have the state license number posted on the vehicle.
  • General contractors must be registered with the City before doing any work. Contact Building Inspections for more information.
  • Before the project begins, insist on seeing the City’s permit and check the City website’s online permit software for permits and inspections. During construction, monitor your contactor’s inspection records.

Please be aware the City is currently waiving permit fees for repair work associated with the February 2021 winter storm event. The City also allows contractors to perform emergency repairs before obtaining a City permit to expedite the work. However, the contractor should submit a permit application immediately following completion of the work and schedule a final inspection with the City.

Have any questions or comments? Contact the Building Inspections Division at (817) 748-8236 or 8237 or visit the Building Inspections home webpage.

New Alarm Program Begins July 1

The City of Southlake will go live with its new alarm program on July 1, 2020. In an effort to reduce false alarms in Southlake, the City has updated its alarm ordinance and collaborated with PM AM Corporation to implement and administer the False Alarm Reduction Program. The partnership will also provide educational training for Southlake residents and business owners. PM AM is a national company with expertise in this area and will be responsible for alarm permit registrations, false alarm billings and educational material. PM AM has a record of providing excellent customer service. A False Alarm Management System (FAMS) website has been established to assist Southlake customers at www.FAMSpermit.com/Southlake.

The goal of this new program is to reduce the number of false alarm activations requiring a response by the Southlake Police Department.

According to Chief James Brandon, “This will free up police resources and reduce the fines levied on alarm customers by having a company who can reach out to residents and business owners who may have alarm malfunctions. This type of partnership allows those with alarms to be notified more quickly of false alarms so they can correct the malfunction.”

With fewer false alarm activations, officers will be available to respond to more urgent calls.

Current alarm permit holders do not need to take action. All account and transaction history will be uploaded to the new system. As of June 15, 2020, users may visit the citizen web portal and may request a username and password. Once the user validates their information, the system will email back their username and password. Citizens who are unable to complete the new account setup may contact PM AM at (877)356-7879 and a customer service representative will be able to assist.

Initial Alarm Registration: The City of Southlake Alarm Ordinance requires all residences and businesses to apply for an alarm permit by completing an alarm permit application available at www.FAMSpermit.com/Southlake. Alternatively, citizens can also complete the application by hand and send it to: City of Southlake False Alarm Program, P.O. Box 143276, Irving, TX 75014

Failure to register your alarm will result in additional fees or fines.

For any questions related to the City of Southlake Alarm Reduction Program please call PM AM at 877-356-7879, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The City’s Online Permitting and Inspection System “EnerGov” is Getting an Upgrade!

On Thursday, June 25, the City of Southlake Planning and Development Services (PDS) Department will upgrade their online permitting and inspections system called EnerGov, which is specifically designed to automate and centrally connect critical processes, including permitting, planning, inspections, code enforcement, engineering and more. Currently, customers can apply for permits, pay fees and schedule inspections all online.

Click here to connect to the online portal.

The upgrade allows external users to access more information about their specific permits and plans and simplifies the application and registration process. In addition, the upgrade provides a ‘Forgot your Username?’ feature and fixes previous software bugs.

To ensure EnerGov continues to provide simple and streamlined processes for customers, the PDS Department plans to continue upgrading the software to enhance the eReview capability and to allow external users to apply for professional licenses online.

“The upgrade allows the customer to do more from home or the office related to permit and plan applications and eliminate the need for customers to come to Town Hall to conduct business,” Ken Baker, Director of Planning and Development said. “Optimizing this system is key to providing quality customer service by making the permit application process simple.”

The EnerGov system is scheduled to be offline from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 25 to allow for the upgrade and post implementation testing.

Learn more about EnerGov here. For questions about EnerGov or how it functions, please contact the PDS – Building Inspections Division at 817-748-8236 or 817-748-8237.

Building in Southlake? Changes are coming.

The City of Southlake will host an informational meeting for builders, contractors and developers on March 31, 2016 at Southlake Town Hall from 7:45 am to 10:00 am providing an overview on upcoming changes to the City’s building and inspections permitting process as well as changes to the planning and development process.

Construction PhotoThe purpose of this meeting is to provide information on the following topics:

  • Review of the 2015 Building Codes update and adoption by the City of Southlake;
  • Revisions to the permit submittal and inspections application submittal process;
  • Revisions to the Site Plan, rezoning, and plat submittal process; and
  • Revisions to the storm water (SWPPP) submittal process.

Anyone who currently builds or develops in Southlake, or plans to do so in the future, is encouraged to attend the session.

Please RSVP for the meeting by contacting Building Inspections at (817) 748-8237. Visit the City’s Development Activity News Blog to view the meeting notice or learn more about current development projects in Southlake.

Meeting information:

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Southlake Town Hall – Third Floor Training Rooms

1400 Main Street, Southlake, TX 76092

7:45 – 8:30am – Overview of the Economic Development and Tourism Department (information and resources)

8:30 – 10:00am – Presentations over the 2015 Code updates and revisions to the submittal processes