Home Depot plans to have a program that allows Las Vegas homeowners and contractors to obtain certain types of permits at kiosks in 12 stores throughout the valley in effect by Monday.
The Clark County Commission approved an agreement earlier this week with Home Depot to sell a "proof of permit" for jobs such as the replacement of water heaters, heating and air conditioning units. Anything that requires a plan review must still be submitted through the building department.
Home Depot collects the fee on the permit and forwards the permit information and fee to Clark County, said Ron Lynn, director of the Clark County Building Department. An official permit would then be generated by the building deparment and sent to the permit owner, he said.
The cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson are working on the project as well.
Lynn said the program would start Monday after Home Depot sets up an escrow account that would be drawn upon when permits are issued at the kiosks.
Types of permits and fees are decided by the municipalities, said Ann Baker, process manager for Atlanta-based Home Depot. They also control the administrative process. The service is provided free as an incentive to attract more customer traffic into stores, she said.
"Our target audience is contractors, so basically the contractor can come into the store and type in an address, get a permit and take it to the home and start doing work," Baker said.
Lynn said the permit kiosks are another way to reach out to citizens. The permitting process has already been streamlined in a number of ways. This is a point-of-sale issue that records people when they buy a product that needs a permit for installation, he said.
"It's safer for everyone if they get the proper inspection to protect themselves and their family," he said.
The kiosks save contractors time and money from driving around town and waiting in line, and it's more cost-effective for county staff because it doesn't occupy their time, Lynn said. There are about 20 permits available electronically, with fees ranging from $56 for a water heater or water softener replacement to $119 for a commercial electric meter re-tag.
Lynn said he hopes to add more permits such as standardized patio covers.
"I see this as a definite benefit for citizens in the long run, and it helps us control costs," he said. "The advantage for people five years from now is opportunity."
Home Depot has developed Internet-based software that verifies necessary information for obtaining a permit, including contractor license verification tied into the Nevada State Contractors Board and municipal licensing agencies, Baker said.
Permits can be purchased at any Home Depot kiosk for work in other areas of town.
The system will be tested over a pilot period to ensure the process is viable. Once testing is complete, a decision will be made by the commission on whether to continue the agreement.
Contact reporter Hubble Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0491.