|Commissioner's Corner by John Caywood, Allen County Building Commissioner|
For May I have included the lock-out policy and the standard operating procedures I have directed the staff to follow. This is probably more important to those on the remodeling side as opposed to new construction. I have encouraged inspectors to use their County issued phones on some easily resolved issues to prevent a failed inspection where it is feasible. My goal is to increase customer service while still maintaining a high inspection volume.
I have staff working weekends right now to alleviate the backlog in online permitting. This week I met with County IT staff to have them modify certain permits to be “instant permits.” Through automation, certain permits such as stand-alone roofing, siding, egress windows, water heater replacement, furnace replacements, etc. can be obtained online without any wait. This means staff will not have to manually process each permit like they do currently. My goal is to have this in place June 1st. I will be updating the HBA office on my progress so they can spread the word once this happens.
I am hiring a residential inspector to replace Doug Krause, who has returned to the private sector with a local builder. ACBD wishes him the best in this endeavor. I will give the HBA a name and photo of the new inspector once the position is filled.
Finally, I want to thank the HBA for sponsoring the 1st Annual Birdhouse Build on May 11th. I hope by doing this event, kids see what FWCS offers for career training in construction and consider going into the building trades in the future. I agree that kids need exposure to different careers at an early age. I hope the volunteers from the HBA have lots of fun on this day also.
Trip Charge/Lock-Out Policy
With the record high volume of 47,844 inspections in 2016, the Building Department strives to improve efficiency without increasing staff size or permit fees. In order to meet this goal, we cannot continue the practice of offering an additional inspection at no charge when an inspector does not have access to a job site. If there is a lock box code or special instructions for entry, that information must be submitted with each permit application regardless of the trade. Building Department Staff unable to perform the inspection due to being unable to access the jobsite will leave a card indicating they were locked out and unable to inspect. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to reschedule the inspection, as the current inspection will be resulted as “locked out.” Occupied, private residences must have a representative present over 18 years of age if the inspection is required on the interior of the occupied residence per ACBD policy. Lock out re-inspection fee shall be $40.00 per occurrence starting with the first lock out.
Standard Operating Procedure: Lock Out Procedure
Inspectors: As stated in the lock-out policy above, inspectors unable to complete an inspection due to no lock box code, no access to inspection area, inaccessible without special equipment (ladder, lift etc.) will result the inspection as “lock-out.” The red door hanger shall be left with the inspector’s number affixed. The inspector should exhaust any reasonable means of conducting the inspection. For example, phones are provided to inspectors and if a simple phone call can prevent another trip, then it should be utilized. If a trip charge is desired, the inspector shall notify the senior inspector, explaining the circumstances of the lockout. It is understood that the majority of the time this occurs with “selfer” permits and when it is an occupied residence. It is the responsibility of the homeowner on a stand-alone permit to contact the inspector to arrange a time for the inspector to return. Contractors are responsible when it is imperative for one inspection to be completed before additional inspections can be completed. (i.e. remodels) Refusal of the owner to allow entry shall not result in a trip charge to a contractor. The inspector shall arrange any return trips with the permit holder via telephone or e-mail. The front counter will not schedule these inspections.
John Caywood Building Commissioner