HBA members and staff met with Washington County’s Land Use and Transportation Leadership team last week to discuss ongoing challenges related to the county’s inspection processes. While many improvements have been realized on the intake and file check submissions, the wait time for simple building inspections have risen to upwards of 10 business days. The good news is that the county has successfully hired 4 new inspectors who will hopefully help ease the long delays many builders are facing. While there’s no official word on when we might expect to see improved services for inspections, we expect it to take at least several more weeks before new staff is fully trained. Here are the slides from the meeting, and below is a follow up to several questions raised during the meeting. Can video/phone inspections be requested? Our inspectors are already utilizing video/phone inspections when they determine that it is feasible. These are typically used for re-inspections and some plumbing/mechanical/electrical inspections. We are working on guidance documents for the team but it’s already happening in the field. Requesting isn’t possible because it depends on the specific type of job. We are looking to add an option in the inspection app for our inspectors to record when they conduct a video/photo inspection so that we can provide you with statistics on how many inspections are done this way in the future. - One clarification: our inspection team never went fully to video or photo inspections during the pandemic, they have always been in the field. They did utilize video and phone during that time, probably at about the same level as they are using those tools today. Should we be messaging the 30-day timeframe for permit submittal when people request them? Is there a way to notify customers through the process? We will add this language to email notification sent to the applicant when the permit is set up, thank you for the suggestion. Are inspectors able to work over time? Yes, overtime was authorized in February due to staffing shortages. Overtime is voluntary, and is not going to be the solution to our workload problems. We are looking forward to returning to full staffing over the next few months and expect to return to typical timeframes then. What’s happening with concurrent review? Implementing workflows that take advantage of concurrent review opportunities within the ProjectDox software is part of our continuous improvement efforts underway now. We are working with our IT department now to update the project work flows. Currently, staff are doing concurrent review through a manual task assignment process, when possible given the specifics of a project. Updating the workflows will likely be done later this year and will remove the manual element of our current process. We are trying to make all of our processes as efficient and standardized as possible, not have separate special processes for individual applications.