- Posted On: December 02, 2014
The piles of inspection jobs for rental properties can become a major issue for communities without the staffing to get to them in a timely fashion. In some communities, it’s not the staffing that’s an issue – it’s the processes they’re using to get through the inspection checklist.
Sunbury, PA, a picturesque community on the Susquehanna River, has a rich history dating back to 1772. With a population of around 10,000, Sunbury isn’t a large town, yet a few years ago it experienced an issue that many communities its size face regularly – a backlog of inspections that code enforcement couldn’t get to. For Sunbury, the temporary solution was to bring in an additional code officer.
In Sunbury, about 75 of the 270 inspections they did one month were failing the inspection checklist. With 1,000 inspections waiting in the wings, that’s a lot of properties with potentially unsafe wiring, plumbing and structural issues that could pose a threat to the inhabitants.
For communities with a high percentage of rental properties, getting behind on inspections is fairly common. Some communities have placed higher fines on landlords that don’t keep up with the maintenance on their properties, which motivates them to keep their structures up to code. Other communities have scheduled more inspections and hired more staff to keep their communities safe. College towns are targets for a higher rate of rental properties and often require more attention to code enforcement.
One item that pops up frequently in communities where inspections are an issue is the process through which inspectors complete their inspection checklist. The communities experiencing the biggest issues don’t have technologies that can actually make the workday go by more smoothly. Another aspect of more productive workdays involves bringing the community in to help solve the problem.
As an example of technology that can help you succeed, look at the mobile devices that people carry with them throughout the day; they are small, portable and hold a wealth of knowledge that connect one part of a department to another or one segment of the community to the local government. Using these mobile devices, inspectors can bring their checklist with them in a digital form. They can also open new cases, close old ones, pull up property histories, send reports and notify the public about cases of interest.
As for making the citizens part of the solution, they too can be equipped with a mobile solution that allows them to file a report on a problem issue within their community, pointing out potentially hazardous code violations that city staff need to address. All of this can be done without a single piece of paper being transferred from one desk to another before it finds the right person. The digital reports go exactly to the people who need to be notified, and the problem can be addressed quickly and easily without all the unnecessary paperwork.
Comcate has developed just such a solution for communities like Sunbury and yours. If you’re having an issue with backlogged inspections and a slow work process due to your inspection checklist, contact us and find out how we can help you.