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All That is Old is New Again

January 3, 2019

As we progress with our remodeling of the Building Department offices, I discovered an entire shelf of scrapbooks from an era before e-mail and digital photos existed. People actually cut out articles and pasted them on hard stock cards using honey colored glue and page protectors. I can’t imagine the amount of time someone put into these. One photo that stuck out is from March 1991 from the building trade show that takes place at the Coliseum (below). Pictured are Jim Norris and Hank Dulak. The man on the left is not identified, and I’ll buy lunch for the first person who lets me know his name. I figure whoever was in the HBA in 1991 will likely be ordering off the senior menu anyways meaning cheaper for me.

Looking through these images really made me think. I recognized a familiar pattern in previous letters to the builders. Timely inspections have always been a concern along with consistency among the inspectors in what is enforced. Since being appointed in 2016, our team has significantly improved the wait time for inspections through additional staffing and use of technology. We have also strived to be consistent and helpful instead of brandishing the code book like a blunt object. Our hiring choices have included weeding out candidates who were not good communicators as well.

You have expressed the need for greater communication, perhaps in a central place. In response to this, I recently started posting updates on our website www.allencounty.us/building-department. I plan on also updating through social media platforms and an option to be added to an e-mail blast in 2019, which you will see this with your renewal letters this month.

In preparation for the year ahead, I refer back to the photo above. One of my goals is to build and nurture my relationships with the building community by participating in more HBA and BCA events as well as professional organizations at the State level.
Just like the saying goes, “All that is old is new again.”

Happy 2019,
John Caywood
Building Commissioner

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