- Posted On: March 13, 2015
Building inspections serve a vital public role – ensuring public safety at work, recreation, and in neighborhoods. Communities across the country experience challenges with building inspections that could lead to unsafe conditions for citizens.
A Case in Point
One city in Florida has recently reported that over 50 percent of building inspections ended up with a warning regarding fire code violations being handed out. Many of the violations were a simple matter of inattention. Broken illuminated exit signs, sprinkler systems or fire alarms which were never tested or unsafe electrical outlet covers were frequent problems. Such things are easily overlooked until a city code officer points them out. Small infractions can make a major safety hazard in the event of disaster, however.
The code enforcement officers in Florida found that just one quarter of the buildings they inspected yielded zero code violations of either the state or city fire regulations. While the majority were minor problems that received a citation, others were more serious. Violations that posed an immediate threat such as locked or blocked emergency exits, had to be rectified within the business day or risk having the structure shut down.
Post-construction Compliance a Tougher Job
During the construction process building inspections are a matter of course. Everyone involved is a specialist and understands what is required. After construction, staying in compliance with code can be more of a challenge. Minor cosmetic changes to a building or complete remodeling projects can affect compliance and without building inspections, those unsafe situations go unnoticed and unaddressed.
Cities like the one in Florida cannot always afford to hire enough inspectors to visit every building every year. A more feasible goal for existing structures is usually once each three to five years. But budget realities can sometimes make reaching even this goal difficult. Too few code enforcement officers with too many buildings that need inspection can pose a serious public safety problem. In Florida, city officials reported that better than 70 percent of the buildings inspected received violation notifications of some kind. That translates into significant potential risk.
Making Inspectors More Productive
City officials tasked with protecting the public good are often caught between a rock and a hard place. Everyone wants to be kept safe and healthy but finding more money for more officers can be tough. When economic times are hard, tax revenues go down and that means less public funds to perform these duties. Comcate is a company that provides a solution to this dilemma. Our company offers public service software solutions, including one specifically for building inspections. The software helps each officer to work more efficiently and effectively, thus accomplishing more without having to hire additional workers. Check out our full line of solutions that can improve many of the functions regularly tasked to city authorities in your community.