The administration of codes through the building and safety department or fire prevention division is critical to the overall community enforcement for all codes. Administration can be viewed as the adoption, use, deputies, and how we enforce codes or standards. Many of us can look at our first chapter of the adopted building or fire code for guidance on the “administration of code.”
The proper administration will address the development of staff through professional associations and appropriate training or development. The administration continues with forward thinking by the division administrator (code official, building official, fire marshal). If we focus to our initial interactions with customers as they come into our community and start their project.
I often receive phone calls from prospective developers looking for guidance on the building process in our community. Although the basic concepts are similar, all of our departments utilize different processes in plan review, inspection, or enforcement. For instance in your organization how would you have handled this phone call? What would your staff say with their interaction on the same phone call?
Developing web-resources, checklists, and systems will help the developer meed the needs of the enforcement division. Letters which outline the applications, permits, or process that must be followed will allow for smooth flow. Enabling permit technician staff to provide guidance to applicants can be extremely beneficial. I remember a partner organization that would refer to their administrative assistant as the assistant fire marshal (jokingly). She was a great gate keeper with over 25 years of experience that would guide contractors on the required informaiton that was needed for inspections or plan review.
Just developing checklists that work for you community is a great first step. These documents will serve as resources for those doing work in your community and will assist the department staff in your organization on the process that is required. Take a look at some of these resources that other departments are using:
- Building Permit Checklist, City of Altamonte Springs Florida
- Plan Review Guide, City of Altamonte Springs Florida
- Common Violations, Brighton Area Fire Authority
- What Permits are Requited, City of Phoenix Fire Department
- Building Manuals, City of Rochester Hills Building Department
- Building Department Flow Chart, City of Santa Cruz
- Flow Chart; commercial or residential, City of Lincoln
- Residential Flow Chart, Seminole County