The Township's new Construction Official (Spring 2022), Joe Popolo, will be available to meet with residents every Wednesday evening, from 4:30-6 pm, beginning next Wednesday, November 9. The Building (Construction) Department is located in Town Hall at 29 Park Avenue, 1st floor. Go through the main entrance, and turn right; offices are on the right.
Residents are welcome to come talk to Joe about their specific construction projects, get permit information or inquire about any other needs they may have from his department. Joe is a 17-year employee of the Township, working in our town as an inspector in addition to his current role as Construction Official, and was also born and bred in Berkeley Heights. He loves this town, and his commitment to it shows in his diligence on the job. Please come by and meet him!
About the Construction Official & the Building Department
The Construction Official's job is to implement local building/construction codes that are in line with the state Uniform Construction Code (UCC) by granting or denying development permit applications in accordance with its provisions. The Construction Official is responsible for enforcement of all construction codes and issuance of construction permits, and provides oversight to the Building Department, which includes full- and part-time employees, as well as fire, plumbing, electrical, building and mechanical inspectors.
From just May 1 through around June 9 of this year with a great new staff under him an amazing team of inspectors and subcode officials, they made the following progress in the Building Department:
- Eliminated a permit backlog that reached almost 200
- Issued more than 100 permits
- Started 176 applications, issued 105, 45 were ready for pickup as of June 9 , and they were waiting on information for 26 more
- Completed more than 214 plan reviews
- Taken in more than $500,000 in permit fees – mostly from corporations at Connell Park
- Doing weekly inspections for Fiserv at 100 Connell, which is a complete gut renovation of the entire building
- Overseeing two projects open at Summit Health, with a third one forthcoming soon
- Gone from behind on inspections for the major redevelopment projects happening in town (the 55+ over community at 100 Locust, Mill Creek on Lone Pine Drive, Toll Brothers on Hamilton Ave, etc.) to actually being ahead of the game, now waiting on some of the developers to “catch up” and tell is what they need next.
- And perhaps, most importantly, refocused to prioritize customer (resident) service and response time. The office has committed to turning permit applications around and either approving them – or not – far within the 20-day timeframe the department technically has to approve/deny an application. If a permit is denied, his team is working with residents to help them get what they need done to get to the approval stage.