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Process Improvement

Safety and the Unseen Repercussions of the Backlogs in U.S. Cities Due to Closures From the Pandemic

Joe DeRosa

Learn how virtual inspections from SAFEbuilt can do more than keep projects moving.

Recently we covered the many possible solutions for building department backlogs in municipalities across the country. While the immediate focus has been on the most efficient service delivery options as a means to help reduce budgetary impacts and keep projects moving, the risks to community health and safety also rise when those backlogs linger.

Even in areas where various construction and building projects have been deemed essential, there are still issues with having work inspected in a timely manner. Lack of local resources and staffing issues due to the pandemic have further added to the complications, and raised legitimate safety concerns.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic closures, a furloughed building inspector in Duluth summed it up nicely:

“We understand that this is a challenging time financially for the city and that the administration has a hard job ahead of it. However, we also recognize the negative impact these layoffs will have on city services by decreasing the safety and maintenance of rental units, resulting in an impact on the quality of life for thousands of tenants throughout our city.”

In letter published recently at American City & County, International Code Council CEO, Dominic Sims, also points out that the country is still in the midst of hurricane, tornado, and wildfire season. And one of the best ways to protect communities against natural hazards is through well enforced building codes, according to FEMA. Sims states that properly functioning building department, including inspections, helps reduce disaster losses by 15 to 25 percent.

The devastation in Louisiana following the landfall of Hurricane Laura only a few weeks ago puts Sims’ comments into greater focus.

Fortunately, there are ways to help clear that inspections backlog to not only keep projects moving, but to maintain the safety of your community as a whole. SAFEbuilt has actionable expertise in the use of Remote Virtual Inspections (RVI), which uses video technology and the internet to transmit a live video feed from the area being inspected back to a qualified inspector. All that is needed is a video-capable phone or tablet onsite. The inspector remains a safe distance away, either on site and outside of inspection area, or totally off site.

Today, SAFEbuilt performs remote inspections nationally, including for communities in Colorado, Georgia, and Florida. SAFEbuilt has successfully conducted well over 200 remote inspections, which has provided welcome relief to our clients, contractors, and residents looking to keep projects moving and communities safe.

When it comes to clearing your growing building department backlogs, you have options. It’s never too late to minimize the risk to your community’s health and safety and keep projects moving.

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.

Click here to get in touch with a building services expert: https://safebuilt.com/speak-to-an-expert

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