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The number of building permits issued across the country was expected to decline in the last few months by 3 percent.

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In reality, however, the numbers have shown the value of permits issued throughout the country actually increased by over 10 percent. This puts the value at just under $7 billion.


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One essential part of the process of securing a permit is the assistance of a qualified designer. Building designers must now hold a unique license number known as a building code identification number (BCIN).

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This number is issued to qualified designers and firms. There are several reasons why a BCIN is important to the industry.


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One of the main reasons building designers need to hold this type of license number is to provide proof of qualifications to officials. The number is only granted to an individual or a firm if certain requirements are met beforehand. Design firms must be registered and hold a certain amount of insurance. The amount of insurance required is based on the average annual income of the firm.


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Individuals working for the firm must have the correct educational requirements. This includes passing a test to prove formal knowledge.

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Designers must take a new examination every five years in order to affirm a personal understanding of the changes to the building code that have occurred since the last test.


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Another important use for the identification numbers is to streamline the approval and review process for building plans.

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The number must appear on all design drawings.


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It must also appear on any official communications dealing with the permit or the drawing.

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The unique number allows officials to determine who has reviewed the drawing or who is taking part in the process very quickly.


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Officials can enter the number and discover the current state and qualifications of the individual and the firm.

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This removes any confusion or potential ambiguity that might have delayed review and approval.


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The issuing of a BCIN to each designer benefits average consumers and clients who are searching for qualified building designers to create drawings, review plans or consult on a project.

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The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH)

maintains a computer database called the Qualification and Registration Tracking System (QuARTS).


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Anyone can search this database by the name of a designer, the name of a firm or by an identification number.

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Potential clients can see the official name and qualifications of the firm or individual. It also shows whether the license is currently active or has lapsed.


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This gives consumers more confidence when choosing and working with building designers.


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One final important purpose of a BCIN is liability and responsibility. Designers who review or submit a drawing must place the identification number in the title box.

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The box must also include the name and signature of the designer.


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Designers who receive a number sign a document stating that he or she takes responsibility for communications or drawings bearing the identification number. This removes any ambiguity that might develop when a drawing passes through many hands before reaching the final designer. It also allows clients to identify exactly who finalized the design if there are questions.


The Importance Of A Business Code Identification Number (Bcin)