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Orange County Building Division Fast Tracks Habitat Homes with Speedy Permitting

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando recently partnered with five builders to build five homes for future Habitat homeowners in just five days. The annual “Builders Blitz” was held the week of Feb. 5 to provide families affordable homes at the new Arbor Bend subdivision in South Apopka.

In order to accomplish such a feat, the non-profit required more than 100 inspections to be complete before the five-day deadline. Each home usually has more than 20 inspection requirements – including various building, plumbing, mechanical and electrical permits.

Permitting and inspections for a home usually takes three to five months. Habitat Greater Orlando’s goal was to complete the project in only five days.

The Orange County Building and Safety Division stepped up to the challenge to help Habitat Greater Orlando. The permitting and plans review teams assessed and issued permits to ensure that all deadlines would be met. The Division’s inspectors were also on-site during the project to certify that the Habitat Greater Orlando homes’ construction were up to all specs and codes.

“There is no way we could have been able to build these affordable homes without the tremendous and tireless efforts of the inspectors at the Orange County Building Safety Division,” said Leigh Newton, Senior Director of Construction & Real Estate for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando. “Inspectors were available around the clock and stayed late to make sure that once the drywall was up, the inspection could be done and the HVAC could be installed, so it could be a seamless process. We are so thankful for all their assistance.”

The homes are part of Arbor Bend, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando’s third planned community in the Orlando area, which will feature 34 homes upon its completion in 2019. The single-family homes will range from three to five bedrooms.

Orange County is utilizing $724,000 of INVEST funds for construction activities related to the site development of Arbor Bend as part of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ commitment to affordable housing initiatives.

Known as INVEST in Our Home for Life, Mayor Jacobs’ $300-million-investment program provides for affordable housing, public safety, infrastructure, parks, pedestrian safety, road construction and transportation improvements — all without raising taxes.

“This neighborhood will do so much more than provide homes to families in need of an affordable place to live,” Mayor Jacobs said. “It will restore hope, bring stability to the families and have a positive ripple effect on the entire community.”

During the weeklong event, professional builders and subcontractors all came together to donate building materials, supplies and hours of labor to help change the lives of five Orange County families who will call Arbor Bend home.

“We were happy to help with the expedited permitting process to ensure that the permitting and inspections were done in a high-quality manner and up to par to meet the deadline,” said Orange County Building Official Shane Gerwig. “Habitat helps bring our residents more affordable housing and we are glad to come together to make the dream of homeownership a reality for more Orange County families.”

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