Third Party Plan Review

A GFSA member has a concern that the SFM is down to two reviewers with 140 plus projects in backlog.

GFSA President Patrick Cordi spoke to Jeffrey Mayer about this and asked about the possibility of third party review. He directed me to O.C.G.A 25.2.14, which lays out the rules to utilize third party reviews if the SFM (or any municipality) cannot complete the review within 30 days and indicated that this is an acceptable option to mitigate delays caused by the current backlog.

GFSA Past President Ray Vance provided this input:
I certainly have NO problem utilizing the allowances in O.C.G.A. 25.2.14 to mitigate the State FM Office plan review delays. However, just so everyone is aware of the particular requirements to utilize this process, please see below the language from O.C.G.A. 25.2.14 that specifically notes the 3rd party plan review personnel has to be a professional engineer or professional architect who is not associated with the project in any way. And… the costs associated with a 3rd party plan review is at the expense of the fire sprinkler contractor who wishes to utilize this option, etc.

(2) (A) If the state fire marshal, the proper local fire marshal, state inspector, or designated code official cannot provide plan review within 30 business days of receiving a written application for permitting in accordance with the code official’s plan submittal process, then, in lieu of plan review by personnel employed by such governing authority, any person, firm, or corporation engaged in a construction project which requires plan review, regardless if the plan review is required by subsection (a) of this Code section or by local county or municipal ordinance, shall have the option of retaining, at its own expense, a private professional provider to provide the required plan review. As used in this paragraph, the term “private professional provider” means a professional engineer who holds a certificate of registration issued under Chapter 15 of Title 43 or a professional architect who holds a certificate of registration issued under Chapter 4 of Title 43, who is not an employee of or otherwise affiliated with or financially interested in the person, firm, or corporation engaged in the construction project to be reviewed.

There are additional requirements in Articles B thru I that detail exactly how the 3rd party plan review is to proceed, that there is still a fee to be paid to the state fire marshal’s office, in addition to any fees charged by the 3rd party plan reviewer,, the plan review report that is required from the 3rd party plan reviewer AND that the State FM office still has an additional 30 days from the date they received the 3rd party plan review report to then issue the actual installation permit.

In any event, the State FM office can allow the fire sprinkler contract to begin work on the project while the plan review process is in motion. However, ANYTHING not correct once the permit has been issued is still the responsibility of the installing contractor.

The whole 3rd party plan review process is still somewhat lengthy and can be costly, depending upon who you use. We all just need to know the facts, process & potential additional costs going into the process.