In the past three years, the City has been experiencing strong growth pushing new construction towards pre-recession levels, and we anticipate this increased activity in single-family residential,
multi-family, and commercial development to continue in coming years. In addition, two new schools
will be built, also adding to the demand on the inspection service. Despite this growth, the Building Department remains
one inspector down from 2005-2006 levels, leaving existing staff frequently exceeding the industry-accepted best practice of 14 inspections per inspector per day and at risk for oversights or errors.
Inspection types by year
The graph below shows the number of inspections performed each year, across all departments issuing permits. Periods of growth and recession are clearly visible in the peaks and valleys.
In addition to the volume of growth, another factor placing pressure on inspectors is the distance traveled between residential developments.
As the City's growth becomes more concentrated on our east and west borders, and with Green Mountain at our northern-most limits, the distance inspectors must travel between job sites has increased considerably.
The map at right shows new residential construction in the City from 2015 - 2018 (2013 and 2014 are also available by using the filters above the map).
What permits do we issue?
The list at left shows all 104 permit types currently issued by the Building Department. In addition to permits for new construction, the building department also issues permits for work such as additions, decks, plumbing, and electrical; as well as permits for the Engineering Department and Fire Marshal's Office.
While the level of new construction in the City is the current driving force for monitoring inspection workloads, it is important to remember that this is on top of the steady issuance of other permits requiring inspection by the department, which did not diminish nearly as much as new construction during any but the worst of the recession years.
By looking at the graph above for inspection types per year, you begin to see these ever-present workloads, and why additional development throughout the City introduces such a strain for inspectors.
As with residential permits, the volume of permits for work other than a new build coupled with the distance traveled gives a glimpse of the challenges faced by inspectors.
At left is a map of all permits issued from 2013 - 2018, with residential permits and fire permits excluded (use the filter above the map to add these permits to the map).
Also on the horizon are a number of developments along 38th Avenue, which are planned to be mixed-use with commercial and multi-family residential. With this mixed use comes a larger inspection load.
A typical single-family residential unit averages 10 visits from an inspector. These inspections may be for things like foundations, framing, insulation, drywall, and plumbing. With a multi-family structure, some of these residential inspections are combined such as the foundation, but some must be undertaken for every dwelling unit present such as plumbing.
In addition to the work compounded by multiple residential units, the commercial side of these mixed-use developments introduces additional considerations beyond the residential, such as suspended ceilings, water runoff mitigation, or more advanced fire suppression systems. Between the residential and commercial components, inspectors may visit a mixed-use site more than 100 times.