Commissioner's Corner by John Caywood, Allen County Building Commissioner
John Caywood

I want to start this issue by saying thanks to the HBA for the letter of support. I reached out to you through Jessica hoping for support in getting two more inspectors from County Council. The HBA provided a great letter that was well received by Council and vital to getting more help. Today I am ordering two more vehicles, laptops, etc. and will post for one electrical and one plumbing inspector in the next week or so. The elected officials are very supportive of providing what is needed to keep up with the growth we are experiencing in Allen County. I will be looking for inspectors who share my vision of being partners and problem solvers, not authoritarians sent to ruin your day.

I would like your thoughts on moving forward with technology. I am testing the first batch of instant permits. These include furnace, A/C, and boiler replacements, water heater replacements, roofing permits, and electrical service change-outs. Currently, it is a challenge to limit what type of instant permit a contractor could pull. This means a plumbing contractor could pull a roofing permit or vice-versa. I believe that as professionals, we can manage it by imposing penalties on those who abuse the system by applying for permits they are not authorized to get. It would be evident when an inspection was requested anyways. Most contractors would not jeopardize their license by pulling a fraudulent permit.

To me there is value in getting instant permits available quickly. This value overrides the concern of having fraudulent permit activity. I hate to impede everyone because of a few people who always find a way to game the system. I welcome your thoughts.

On a technical note, I learned something new that I want to pass along to HBA members. The subject is enclosing existing porches. If you have clients who want a porch converted to a three or four season room, an Improvement Location Permit is also needed. I was told by Planning that any improvement that can “impede the airflow in that room” requires an ILP. Many of you may already know this, I thought I would pass it along.

Remember that I gladly accept both praises and gripes by phone, e-mail, and in person. Both equally help to improve and focus our attention on being efficient and responsive when (not if) problems arise.


John Caywood Building Commissioner

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Home Builders Association
of Fort Wayne