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In-The-Field Permitting Capabilities Help Regain Normalcy

Amanda Gilliam

Discover how in-the-field permitting or mobile permitting teams on the ground during natural disasters can help municipalities recover more efficiently.

Natural disasters can strike at any time. Right now, many communities are gearing up for what is predicted to be an abnormally busy tornado and hurricane seasons. Fortunately, there are steps we can take after such a disaster to positively impact rebuilding efforts for homeowners, business owners, and municipalities as a whole.

The most impactful, perhaps, is utilizing in-the-field permitting or mobile permitting teams. For example, after a supercell thunderstorm rolled through northern Colorado, the Town of Windsor lay devastated from a mile-wide tornado that tore a 35-mile-long path and caused $193 million in damage. Businesses and homes were destroyed, debris clogged the roads, and shocked residents started the process of rebuilding their lives.

As the Town’s building department services provider, SAFEbuilt immediately went to work. After the critical issues of life safety were resolved, we made every effort to help the community rebuild as expeditiously as possible. We dispatched two mobile permitting units to assess damage and issue permits on the spot. The team visually assessed 800 structures in just three days. With in-the-field permitting capabilities, the team was able to issue hundreds of permits and perform the necessary inspections only days after the disaster. More than 100 homeowners were able to start rebuilding their lives quickly and in compliance with proper building codes.

In another example, we helped the City of Powder Springs, Georgia recover after a flood that was declared “off the charts,” “epic,” and “stunning” by the U.S. Geological Survey. The area was confirmed a natural disaster area and FEMA stepped in to oversee and support. Approximately 100 structures in Powder Springs were identified as being impacted by the flood initially and ultimately over 120 structures required inspection and assessment.

The local team consulted with SAFEbuilt employees who had worked in flood-damaged areas after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. These individuals were a valuable resource to determine Georgia’s response and inspection and assessment tactics during the Powder Springs flood. We utilized ATC 45 rapid assessment forms to conduct initial assessments on over 90 structures within two weeks of the initial flooding event, and completed full assessments on more red- and yellow-carded structures within one month of initial rainfall.

SAFEbuilt’s specialized permitting software was also used to convert all flood inspections into Flood Permits. Assessment forms were scanned into the system and attached to these permits, in the field. This allowed City and staff to track the progress of rebuilding efforts and identify abandoned structures that required more City involvement.

These are just a few examples of how SAFEbuilt supports communities with in-the-field permitting teams so businesses and residents can focus on long term recovery. Learn more by clicking here to get in touch with a permitting expert:

SAFEbuilt is a community development services company. We provide comprehensive building department, private provider, and other professional services with the goal of helping our customers build better, safer communities.

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