7 CFR § 4279.167 - Planning and performing development.
(a) Design policy. The lender must ensure that all facilities constructed with program funds are designed, and costs estimated, by an independent professional, utilizing accepted architectural, engineering, and design practices. The Agency may require an independent professional architect on complex projects. The lender must ensure the design conforms to applicable Federal, State, and local codes and requirements. The lender must also ensure that the project will be completed with available funds and, once completed, will be used for its intended purpose and produce in the quality and quantity proposed in the completed application approved by the Agency. Once construction is completed, the lender must provide the Agency with a copy of the Notice of Completion or similar document issued by the relevant building jurisdiction.
(b) Issuing the Loan Note Guarantee prior to project completion. If the lender requests that the Loan Note Guarantee be issued prior to construction or completion of a project, the lender must have a construction monitoring plan acceptable to the Agency and undertake the added responsibilities set forth in this paragraph. The lender must monitor the progress of construction and undertake the reviews and inspections necessary to ensure that construction conforms to applicable Federal, State, and local code requirements; proceeds are used in accordance with the approved plans, specifications, and contract documents; and that funds are used for eligible project costs. The lender must expeditiously report any problems in project development to the Agency.
(1) In cases of takeout of interim financing where the Loan Note Guarantee is issued prior to construction or completion of a project, the promissory note must contain the terms and conditions of the interim financing and the permanent financing and convert the interim financing to the permanent note as the Loan Note Guarantee can only be placed on one note.
(2) Prior to disbursement of construction funds, the lender must have:
(i) A complete set of plans and specifications for the project on file;
(ii) A detailed timetable for the project with a corresponding budget of costs setting forth the parties responsible for payment. The timetable and budget must be agreed to by the borrower;
(iii) A person, who may be the project architect or engineer, with demonstrated experience relating to the project's industry, confirm that the budget is adequate for the planned development;
(iv) A firm, fixed-price construction contract with an independent general contractor with costs and provisions for change order approvals, a retainage percentage, and a disbursement schedule; a 100 percent performance/payment bond on the borrower's contractor; or a contract with an independent disbursement and monitoring firm where project construction and completion are guaranteed. A bonding agent must be listed on Treasury Circular 570; and
(v) Contingencies in place to handle unforeseen cost overruns without seeking additional guaranteed assistance. These are to be agreed to by the borrower.
(3) Once construction begins, the lender is to:
(i) Use any borrower funds in the project first;
(ii) Ensure that the project is built to support the functions at the level and quality contemplated by the borrower through the use of accepted architectural and engineering practices. There is no absolute requirement that the goal be achieved by the use of a professional inspection. However, if after careful review, it appears that the use of a professional inspector is the only method that ensures the project is built to support the functions at the level and quality contemplated by the borrower through the use of accepted architectural and engineering practices, one may be required by the Agency. If one is required, inspections must be made by a qualified, independent inspector prior to any progress payment. If other less expensive or rigorous methods will achieve the same result, they may be utilized. The decision will be made on a case-by-case basis and must be reasonable under the specific circumstances of the case;
(iii) Obtain lien waivers from all contractors and materialmen prior to any disbursement; and
(iv) Provide at least monthly, written reports to the Agency on fund disbursement and project status.
(4) Once construction is completed, the lender is to provide the Agency with a copy of the Notice of Completion or similar document issued by the relevant building jurisdiction.
(c) Compliance with other Federal laws. Lenders must comply with other applicable Federal laws, including Equal Employment Opportunities, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Guaranteed loans that involve the construction of or addition to facilities that accommodate the public must comply with the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standard. The borrower and lender are responsible for ensuring compliance with these requirements.
(d) Environmental responsibilities. The lender must ensure that the borrower has:
(1) Provided the necessary environmental information to enable the Agency to undertake its environmental review process in accordance with 7 CFR part 1970, “Environmental Policies and Procedures,” or successor regulation, including the provision of all required Federal, State, and local permits;
(2) Complied with any mitigation measures required by the Agency; and
(3) Not taken any actions or incurred any obligations with respect to the proposed project that would either limit the range of alternatives to be considered during the Agency's environmental review process or that would have an adverse effect on the environment.