Birmingham, AL – Shelby County is Alabama's fastest-growing county. So far, this year's construction season has begun with about 500 new-home building permits already issued. But building officials say that number will be five times that by the end of the year. And, that number does not include Shelby County's portions of Hoover and Birmingham. Helena, Chelsea, Calera and Pelham have the strongest showing of home starts this year. Bill Crawford, executive vice president of the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, says he expects a "banner year" for home construction.