Commissioner’s Corner: By John Caywood

April 3, 2018

If April showers aren’t snow showers, it will likely mean that slabs and basements will be popping up all over Allen County signaling another strong year of building. I certainly will miss Maurine’s calls and coordination on projects that promote our local building community. I sure hope someone got her brownie recipe before she left. As the Code Committee poured through the chapters of the code book this past fall, those chocolate brownies may have been the only thing that got us through. We wish her well and look forward to working with whoever is chosen to replace her.
Passage of SB 393 recently will mean some changes in permit applications later this summer. This bill deals with declarations on the use of engineered lumber such as floor systems and truss systems. The local building department is now responsible for alerting first responders to the presence of these products in new construction. I will be working on how this will work. One choice will be a check box if you intend on using engineered products. Another solution is to place a sticker on the electrical meter box at the rough framing inspection. I am working with local fire chiefs to determine how Allen County will meet this new law.
If you come to the office for any permits, you will notice a change. Due to better use of technology, I have taken a back office position no longer needed and moved that person to the front to take phone calls and serve as a receptionist. This person will also process online permits when not serving customers. Jasmine Billingsley has accepted this position. Many of you already know her as she has been at the front counter for a year now.
ACBD will have a booth at the annual International Association of Building Officials conference held in Allen County this month. There will be code-related presentations and seminars the week of April 23-28th at the Grand Wayne Center. I am planning on presenting a seminar that I have taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison the last two years on maintaining professionalism as a Code Official. This seminar is needed now more than ever with the epidemic of violence in our society. Even if you aren’t an inspector, this seminar gives you tools to diffuse most tense interactions successfully. If you are married, I would strongly suggest not telling your significant other about your “training” though. My bride of almost 30 years cautions me to not “use that verbal judo stuff” when we have disagreements.
Finally, a change occurred in our lockout policy. The Building Department Board of Directors recommended amending the policy that someone must be present at an occupied home for an inspection. Effective immediately, inspectors may enter an occupied house with permission of the owner without needing to have the owner or contractor present. This should eliminate the need to keep someone at a jobsite just to be present for the inspection.

John Caywood
Building Commissioner

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