New building commissioner makes changes to expedite permitting process

May 22, 2024

In the two months he has served as the director of inspectional services and zoning enforcement officer for the town of Dartmouth, Randall Bassett said he has been able to issue 331 permits, 268 inspections and has collected approximately $72,000 in revenue.

Prior to Bassett, Joe Braga was the town’s director of inspectional services and zoning  enforcement officer, holding the position for nearly three years before retiring in October of 2023.  

In this role, Bassett is responsible for inspecting building construction to ensure compliance with state building codes and town zoning by-laws and overseeing the building department.  

Bassett has over 20 years of building-related experience in the public and private sectors, including his most recent position as building commissioner for the town of Fairhaven. Before that, he was a building inspector in Brewster.  

In addition to his work experience, Bassett is a certified building official and certified construction supervisor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from UMass  Dartmouth.  

At a Monday, May 20 Select Board meeting, Bassett provided the board with an update on his work in the department. He said his main focus has been on “working with other departments to try to streamline and expedite the permitting process.”

When he first began in the position, there was a “huge backlog,” which he said he has since managed to “unclog.” 

Bassett said the permit process has a number of issues that he hopes to sort out as “a lot of guys didn’t want to build in Dartmouth because of this permitting problem.”

He said he has been steadily making changes to make this process easier for everyone, including a change to the way a permit is paid for.

Prior to Bassett, permits were paid for in full when an application was submitted. This caused issues with refunds, so now the policy requires applicants to pay a nonrefundable $50 application fee and the rest of the permit can be paid after it has been approved.

Additionally, Bassett said he instituted a new “homeowner exemption affidavit form,” which ensures applicants know when they apply for a permit, they are assuming all responsibility of adherence to the building code.

Bassett said he is also in the process of going through each of the bylaws and seeking clarification when necessary to ensure community members are receiving the right information.

“I’m here to help people get through the permitting process and complete their project,” Bassett said. “I’m not here to stop them.”

Select Board members commented on Bassett’s good work and emphasized the importance of keeping an open line of communication.