Gorham is one of three communities in the state that has been approved to do reviews for developers who are planning new commercial buildings and places of assembly as well as renovations to existing commercial property for compliance with 101 Life Safety Code. The town will also be able to then issue construction permits. Fire Inspector Chuck Jarrett has been certified to do plan reviews. Deputy Chief Ken Fickett and Mark Theriault will be completing their certifications shortly.
With the amount of construction taking place throughout Maine, developers are being advised that the Fire Marshal’s office needs up to an estimated 8-12 weeks, or even longer in some cases, to review plans.
“The Gorham Fire Department should be able to review these plans in two weeks or less,” according to Fire Chief Robert Lefebvre. The cost to the developers will remain the same, $.05 per sq. ft. of the project. Gorham will keep $.04 and $.01 will go to the State.
It will not be mandatory for developers to use the Gorham Fire Department for these reviews, however, the turnaround time is quicker, particularly if something changes during construction. In the past, any changes would have meant going back to the State for further review.
Developers can now come to the Town and an inspector can visit the work site and issue immediate approval for changes. “This change means better customer service and gives Gorham an advantage over other communities as developers won’t have to potentially wait up to 12 weeks for their approvals,” said Zoning Administrator David Galbraith.