Frequently Asked Questions

Jurisdiction

  • How do I find out whether or not a project is under DCM jurisdiction? Check out DCM's About webpage.
  • Can you answer questions about my home? No, DCM does not have jurisdiction over residential property. Contact your municipal or county building department, and/or the AL Department of Economic and Community Affairs which issues residential codes. Where there is no municipal or county authority having jurisdiction, the default code enforcement is by the State Fire Marshal.
  • Are state agency, ACCS, PSCA-funded and K-12 school emergency projects still under DCM's jurisdiction? Yes, see DCM's Emergency Projects webpage for guidance on five steps to follow.

Plan Reviews

  • Is there a weight limit for plans submitted for review? Yes, 25 lbs. per volume/set.
  • Are plans required to be bound? Yes, multiple sheets are to be bound.
  • The project is $50,000.00 or less, are plans and specifications required to be submitted for approval? See DCM's Public Works Projects Costing $50,000.00 or Less webpage for guidance.
  • The project is $50,000.00 or less, is a design professional required? See DCM's Public Works Projects Costing $50,000.00 or Less webpage for guidance.
  • The booster club is paying for and doing the work, are plans and specifications required to be submitted for review? Yes, all work planned on public and private K-12 school property is subject to DCM review and approval before work commences. Additionally all design work must be performed by duly licensed individuals.
  • (HVAC) Do one-for-one “like” replacements of HVAC units have to be submitted to DCM for review? Yes. The installation will be reviewed for compliance with current codes.
  • (Storm Shelters) Can natural gas from an off-site utility distribution system be used to power storm shelter emergency generators? No. This is not considered a reliable source.
  • I am changing fluorescent lamps to LED lamps in existing light fixtures. Is this required to be submitted to DCM for review? Yes, replacement with a different type of lamp or ballast is considered a lighting alteration. Emergency lighting and exit signs must be provided as required in each area with lighting alterations. Drawings must indicate the existing floor plan and new and/or existing lighting fixtures, emergency lighting fixtures and exit signs. The new lighting is required to meet the lighting power density requirements for each space and have automatic shutoff. Manual on, bilevel lighting control and daylight responsive controls are not required for a lighting alteration.
  • I am replacing light fixtures on a one-for-one basis. Is this required to be submitted to DCM for review? Yes, replacing light fixtures is considered a lighting alteration. Emergency lighting and exit signs must be provided as required in each area with lighting alterations. Drawings must indicate the existing floor plan and new and/or existing lighting fixtures, emergency lighting fixtures and exit signs. The new lighting is required to meet the lighting power density requirements for each space and have automatic shutoff. Manual on, bilevel lighting control and daylight responsive controls are not required for a lighting alteration.
  • Do we have to submit drawings for plan review if we are only demolishing a building? Yes, drawing submittal for plan review is required; the drawings must be submitted by a design professional.
  • What is the difference between a portable building and a modular building? See Bulletin “Additional Guidance on Storm Shelters Required by 2015 International Building Code” and Manual Of Procedures Appendix A and Appendix A-1 for definitions and submittal requirements for portable and modular buildings.
  • What is the status of my plan review submittal? Who has reviewed it so far? How soon will the review be finished? DCM can confirm whether or not a submittal and a plan review fee has been received and whether or not the review has started. Once the review starts DCM can only confirm it is in progress. At the end of the review a Project Comment Letter will be emailed to the Owner and Architect/Engineer. Per Chapter 3, Section B.8. of the Manual of Procedures, "In scheduling the design of a project, the design professional should allow 30 days for DCM's review of each phase of design. All submittals are reviewed in the order received."

Agreements & Contracts

  • Are Governmental Entities and Contractors required to apply for the Sales and Use Tax Certificate of Exemption for construction projects through the Alabama Department of Revenue? Yes, in order to comply with the Code of Alabama, Governmental Entities and Contractors are each required to apply for the Sales and Use Tax Certificate of Exemption for construction projects. See Sales and Use Tax Exemption for a Governmental Entity Project Certification for guidance.
  • The project is a declared emergency, or the project is $50,000.00 or less; is an Owner/Architect/Engineer Agreement required? Yes in order for a Designer to be paid. See DCM's Emergency Projects or Public Works Projects Costing $50,000.00 or Less webpage for guidance.
  • The project is a declared emergency; is a Construction Contract required? See Emergency Projects for guidance.
  • The project is $50,000.00 or less; is a Construction Contract required? See DCM's Public Works Projects Costing $50,000.00 or Less webpage for guidance.
  • I have PSCA funds to spend for my school system, college etc. What do I do now? First consult with your design professional if you want to apply the funds to an upcoming or current building project. The design professional should be knowledgeable on how you need to proceed with PSCA building projects. See DCM's PSCA Project Forms webpage and Manual of Procedures Chapter 9 for further guidance.
  • Why is Builder’s Risk Insurance required on all projects, no matter the scope or size of the project? Isn't an installation floater good enough? No. Builder’s Risk insurance is required by law and is a contract requirement for all state construction contracts. Builder’s Risk insurance and an installation floater cover different aspects of the project. Builder’s Risk provides coverage for all parties that have an insurable interest in the project including the owner, general contractor, and subcontractors. It protects a contractor from a loss during a construction project due to weather, fire, accidents, material defects and poor installation or workmanship. Builder’s Risk will provide funding to repair, repurchase or reconstruct the covered loss for the benefit of all contractors working on the project.
    An installation floater will protect a specific contractor from the loss of the material installed by that contractor during transit and storage. It provides coverage only for the policyholder. It doesn’t provide coverage for any other party on a project site other than the contractor who purchased the installation floater. An installation floater does not meet the requirements of Article 37 of the General Conditions of the Contract.
  • My firm has been hired by a two-year college to perform work under an open-end agreement; which owner/architect form do I use? Contact the college or the Alabama Community College System for their template of the open-end agreement form. The template has instructions and special provisions specific to two-year college open-end projects.

Project Inspections

  • The project is a declared emergency, or the project is $50,000.00 or less; is an inspection by a DCM Inspector required? If a project requires DCM's supervision and/or administration, then inspections by DCM Inspectors are required. See DCM's Emergency Projects or Public Works Projects Costing $50,000.00 or Less webpages for further guidance.
  • I need to mail a Certificate of Substantial Completion to a DCM field Inspector. Should I mail it to the DCM Montgomery office? No. DCM field Inspectors receive mail at their field offices. A list of names, regions, and contact information can be found on our Staff webpage.

User Fees

  • The fees are based on total construction cost. What does that include? Total construction cost for a project encompasses all labor and materials that form the permanent fixed asset, whether purchased by the contractor as part of a construction contract or purchased by the owner as a self-performance project.
  • What about purchasing materials or equipment from a joint purchasing cooperative? City and County School Boards and the Alabama Community College System may purchase materials or equipment through a purchasing cooperative approved through the State Examiners of Public Accounts. Contact DCM to verify whether or not specific projects must be administered by DCM's Plan Review Division and Project Inspections Division. User fees for such projects are based on owner’s expected outlay for labor and materials. See DCM's Construction Self-Performance Projects webpage for further guidance.

Home/EIFS Inspections

  • Is it a requirement to be licensed as an Alabama Home Inspector to perform residential home inspections? Yes, you must be licensed to perform home inspections in the State of Alabama.
  • Is a special license required to inspect residential new construction? No, it is not mandatory for inspecting residential new construction; however, a home builder has the right to request proof that you’ve complied with the Residential New Construction Designation training.
  • If I submit a license application as a home inspector or EIFS inspector in October, will it expire next October? No, licenses are issued per calendar year. Regardless of the issue date, licenses expire at midnight on December 31st of the current year.
  • Does Alabama have reciprocity with other states regarding home inspection licensing? No, currently Alabama does not have reciprocity with other states.
  • Can I file a complaint against a Home / EIFS inspector for monetary damages and repairs? Yes, you can file a complaint against a Home / EIFS inspector. If an inspector is found negligent according to the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, he or she can be fined, their license suspended or revoked. However, you must retain legal counsel to seek monetary reimbursement for damages or losses.
  • Can I get a home inspection license and allow others in the company to use it? No, you can't.

Construction Industry Craft Training Fee

  • Does the Craft Training Fee apply to non-residential construction projects for charity organizations? If a local government charges a building permit fee to the permit applicant for such a project, then the Craft Training Fee applies. If a local government waives a building permit fee for such a project, then the Craft Training Fee does not apply.
  • Does the Craft Training Fee apply to cell towers and utility structures? Cell towers and utility structures are exempt from the Fee.
  • Should the Craft Training Fee be charged on non-residential single-trade permits and/or subcontractor construction costs? The Fee should be charged for non-residential permitted single-trade construction costs when such costs are not included in a prime contractor's estimated construction cost submitted for a permit application. If a subcontractor's construction cost is included in a prime contractor's estimated construction cost submitted for a permit application, then the subcontractor's cost is already taken into account; in such a case the Fee should not be applied to the subcontractor's cost a second time. In other words the Craft Training Fee does not "double dip."

Miscellaneous

  • What projects are out for bid in Alabama? We do not keep track of projects out for bid. You may try searching online plan rooms.
  • Why does a DCM webpage print differently than the screen format? A free web-builder application was used for the DCM site and it is not always printer-friendly.