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Enforcement Who does building inspections in smaller communities?

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,055
Points
50
The community I work for is small, but growing like crazy. Like several of the surrounding communities, we contact with the County to do our building inspections, however the quality of the customer service from the inspectors has been less then desirable. On top of that, they will only do inspections for building permits. Not code compliance, not minimum housing, nothing but permits.

If you are a smaller community, do you have in-house building department or do you contract with someone else? Do you have a split between building code plan review and inspections or is it one person or group?

As our community grows, I would like to bring that service in-house but it won't be for a few years go get all the logistics worked out.... like what do we do when our inspectors or plan reviewers go on vacation...
 

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
Messages
6,641
Points
32
The community I work for is small, but growing like crazy. Like several of the surrounding communities, we contact with the County to do our building inspections, however the quality of the customer service from the inspectors has been less then desirable. On top of that, they will only do inspections for building permits. Not code compliance, not minimum housing, nothing but permits.

If you are a smaller community, do you have in-house building department or do you contract with someone else? Do you have a split between building code plan review and inspections or is it one person or group?

As our community grows, I would like to bring that service in-house but it won't be for a few years go get all the logistics worked out.... like what do we do when our inspectors or plan reviewers go on vacation...
We split with a neighboring jurisdiction and contract out our inspection and plan checks. As for code compliance, we have a person that handles that in-house that use both general fund revenue, and commercial cannabis revenue to fund.

Hopefully if i move up to the next office, my priority would be to fund an in-house plans examiner (part time, no bennies, no calpers) , and continue to contract our inspections. Inspections are pretty much pass or fail. There is not much to it. Plan review and plan checks however, can have a repercussions and seem to be where our most customer complaints are derived from in terms of turn around and metrics.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,808
Points
51
My last gig was for a rural county. We didn't have the manpower or the need to do commercial permitting - we had no residential codes - so we had an agreement with the big city (about 49,000 pop) that the couple commercial projects basically overpaid the city and the city handled all building code inspections. They did not do code enforcement.

A smaller town in the county (about 5,000 pop) paid one of the big city inspectors to do their inspections after hours or weekends. The big city was okay with the moonlighting since the small town was far enough away that there were no conflicts of interest or fighting over boundaries.

My current city contracts some code review when needed, but we're a big enough city that the service is easily available.

Could you contract with someone from a bigger city or the county to do part time inspections and then hire them if the job gets big enough? No intergov agreement, we're talking moonlighting.
Could you contract someone in the general public for part time work?
Your other choice is to learn code review/inspections yourself or someone on the staff gets to learn it. Maybe some of the county people would be willing to train one of your guys on the job?
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,055
Points
50
My last gig was for a rural county. We didn't have the manpower or the need to do commercial permitting - we had no residential codes - so we had an agreement with the big city (about 49,000 pop) that the couple commercial projects basically overpaid the city and the city handled all building code inspections. They did not do code enforcement.

A smaller town in the county (about 5,000 pop) paid one of the big city inspectors to do their inspections after hours or weekends. The big city was okay with the moonlighting since the small town was far enough away that there were no conflicts of interest or fighting over boundaries.

My current city contracts some code review when needed, but we're a big enough city that the service is easily available.

Could you contract with someone from a bigger city or the county to do part time inspections and then hire them if the job gets big enough? No intergov agreement, we're talking moonlighting.
Could you contract someone in the general public for part time work?
Your other choice is to learn code review/inspections yourself or someone on the staff gets to learn it. Maybe some of the county people would be willing to train one of your guys on the job?
One of our Planners already has his level 2 building inspection certification, so by the time he completes all of his stuff, I think we can move him into that role. Best part is he will understand the planning aspect of it and already be integrated into the customer service culture that we are establishing. Problem comes with trades and when he is on vacation. We have been reviewing permit numbers we often get over the minimum thresholds to have an in-house building and an in-house trades person that could do both reviews and inspections, but the COVID slowdown does not allow for sustained numbers needed to meet those paychecks.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,609
Points
69
In the last place I worked, we used contracted inspectors through Bureau Veritas for certain inspections (plumbing? electrical?) that the regular municipal inspectors couldn't do. (The place grew a lot since then, and I'm sure they no longer rely on contract inspectors.)

I work for a fairly small community, but we have a relatively large inspection staff, because there's always a few very large projects under way. Some of the smaller communities in the area share building inspectors. An inspector may techncially be a full time employee in one community for the sake of benefits, but much of their work might be in another nearby municipality. Right now, one of our inspectors is working half time for a neighboring community whose inspector retired.
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
12,985
Points
53
We've contracted with the County to do our building inspections - in fact every city in this county does.
 
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