Box 1, Folder 1, Document 3

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The Building Inspectors Department

The Building (usdestes Depactiet i
Frewicpaemtem administers and enforces the Zoning
Ordinance, the Housing and Slum Clearance Code, the Heusing Demolition Ordinance, the Georgia
Safety Fire Law and ihe Elevator Ordinance. lis responsibilities generally regulate ine private use of
private property. The manner in which the department does its job and works with other agencies both
_ in and out of the City government will be reflected in the quality of total community developre ni.

Biatfing, organization, and records must be so developed as to have flexibility, comprehens iveness,

and sensitivity to the needs and requirements of area action. |The Building Inspectéss Department has

been the subject of extensive review and reorganization to better prepare it for thé role. Implementation
of the reorganization is now in the final stage. This presentrevtews-therefore;-must be timttet io
ihereceni-history-of the deparitient, It would be inappropriate to attempt to evaluate performance

development,a constan?t

systematic performance.measuremeni-should=be=developedy==

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In 1964 Public Administration Service prepared a survey report relating to the consolidation of

inspection servicesin the City of Atlanta. This report reviewed and identified all inspectional functions
carried out among several departments withthe City government. The major attention of the report

was focused on the Depariment of Building Inspections. The findings of the report led to recommendations
for an expanded depariment of Building Inspections to include plumbing inspection (from the Consiruction
Depariment), elecirical inspection (from the Department of Electricity) and housing code inspection
(from the Depariment of Urban Renewal). The City adopted the full report.. The Departments of
Electricity and Urban Renewal were abolished when their few remaining responsibilities were transferred

to other deparimenis and agencies. No one lost his job or was reduced in salary due to the implementation

of these recommendations.


The Building Inspection Department : Page 2

Consolidation began in July of 1964, In-She beginning little more could be accomplished than
to effect a legal change. The various officej's were spread from the third floor of City Hall to the
thirteenth floor. ? In late summer 1965, one year later,major office realignments were richie at City Hall
wajch resulted in the Building Inspecti‘on Deparimenit occupying all of the eighth and ninth floors. tha
Wetec’ MNbgrnorsdty wert rele wr 19Gb » an

Physical provisions were made for a ceniral records ard statistical unit and the ceniral permits desk.

Staffing for the Records Bureau was provided by clerical personnel formerly assigned to each of the

inspection divisions. a
ceientiailiaaaimiiain a

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The present organization differs from the proposed plan in two minor ways. First there is


no separate zoning #7" rneirA, Zoning enforcement is carried out by the Building Code Enforcement




Division. The building inspectors carry on this dual function. |
\ /

# One aspect of the zoning enforcement and conirol is in the

Planning Department. Street number assignment and zening certification and applications for

rezoning are functions of the Planning Department. At seems logical that the zoning information



section of the Planning Department could most ae be assigned to the Building Inspection Department.
This would be another important step in congoli ating related functions concerning building construction.

Another area of responsibility that could proayrly be assigned to ihe Building Inspection Department

would be the functions now carried out by peers of City Hall. The Building Department
presenily supplies the Depariment of City/ Hall Bpubabbodbeo@ioyaiddingsox with technical asictunies
and prepares plans and supervises all additions ony alterations to the City Hall and all other City
buildings. This new division, to be £alled a Division of City Buildings, would be responsible for the

custodial duties at City Hall, sup¢rvising alterations to all City buildings, and ta, provide technical
information and assistance to otfer City departments \in the operation and maintenance of their buildings.

An Organization Chart indicgting the present organization and including the suggested addition of the

Division of City Buildings js presented in Chart Ley

The Building Inspectors Department Page 3

Staffing. The Depariment has a technical staff of 72 and a clerical staff of 1d: The technical

staff includes the department head (Building Official), an estefan Building Official, two

architect engineers, ten plumbing inspectors, 10 electrical inspectors, 2 elevator inspectors, 9 heating.
and ventilating inspectors and engineers, 16 building inspectors and 15 persons engaged in Housing
Code enforcement. Six technicians are ities registered engineers or architects. Most of the
specialized inspectors are licenseg in their trades,

Dual Inspections . There is a decided trend throughout the county towards the use of dual

inspectors. By combining inspectional duties one person inspects two or more inspectional

fields providing competent inspection in an economical manner. The most common dual inspections
are building and zoning, plumbing and heating, and building and hosting. The City of Atlanta has
only one type of dual inspection - building and zoning. Efforts to extend combined inspections

usually meet strong resistance from craft unions, The use of dual inspections might necessarily

have to be limited to resideniial buildings. This will involve the greatest volume of work, but also

the most routine from the standpoint of technical difficulty. An expanded program of dual inspections
requires a well developed in-training program, cooperation and understanding of the craft unions,

and support from the City administration. Atlanta could probably extend ifs dual inspections to include
Housing Code inspections to all its inspectional specialities. Every inspector, then, wauld be
responsible to note and report to the Housing Code Division any violations observed. Follow-up
inspections regarding housing code violation would remain the responsibility of the Housing Division.
This modification would go far in expanding the ability of the City to identify homes that are
developing features that lead to blight.

Work Program Inspectional services are provided fo insure the health, safety and general welfare

of the community. Building inspections insure that siruciures will be built, repaired and altered

in accordance with accepied standards. Plumbing inspections insure that water and sewer facilities are in-
stalled in a manner that will protect the occupants health, Heating and Ventilating inspections assure

that heating units are installed property and includes provisions for smoke abatement in order to reduce

The Building Inspect&*$ Department Page 4
air pollution. Electrical Inspections insure that wiring installations will reduce fire hazards.
Housing inspections differ from the above in that the housing code is concerned with buildings
that were built under former regulations (usually these required lower standards of safety and sanitation).
li is the general purpose of housing inspection to upgrade the standing of living in existing housing.
Zoning ordinance enforcement activities support the regulationtof land use, conirol of height
and bulk of buildings, establish area requiremenis for yards and other open spaces.
The volume of work undertaken by the department may be measured by the value and number of

building permits issued in the past 10 years@,

Year Value of Building (millions Number of Permits
of Dollars)

1955 76 t 10,613
1956 59 9,682
1957 59 7,79)
1958 108 8,327
1959 4 8,728
1960 91 8,31]
1961 96 10,158
1962 117 9.357
1963 109 9,168
1964 150 9,142
aS x

Building Codes . The City of Atlania provides through these Various codes a high standard of
construction. The National Building Code is basically used for building. In 1965 wee
National Elected be issued which will be adopted by the City, Currently the Ciiy is using
the existing National Elecirical Code with some local amendments. The City is a leader

in developing a Heating Code. This code has recedved national acclaim and has been widely
adopted by other cities. The Plumbing and the Housing codes are not based after any nena code,
b ut do incorporate high standards. Generally, the codes provide for eight inspections to be made
during actual consiruction. A final inspection ismade upon completion of all work to assure

conformance to land use, type of building, area of lot and other requiremenis of the zoning and

building ordinances and codes. A certificate of occupancy is issued at that time.

The Building Inspection Depariment Page 5

Budget and Revue. The depariment collects in fees enough funds to cover all the expenses of

operation. A recent survey of municipal building inspection practices indicated that 72 per cent

of 101 cities over 100,000 population receive 75 per cenit or more of their operating budget from

fees. Thirty-two per cent of these cities receive 100 % or more of their operating budget from


Public Convenience. The consolidation of inspectional service and a central building permits

desk serves as a public convenience. A contractor or individual can get all building permiis

at one location. He must, however, still go to several other locations within City Hall

for other basic information and permits. Water permits, water meters and location of water

facilities are obtained from the Water Depariment} Sewer permits, Street Opening permits,

sewer assessmenis, curvcut permits and location of sewer facilities are obtained from the Consiruction

Depariment. Applications for rezoning and sireet numbers are provided at the Planning Depariment.

Copies of the Zoning Code are purchased from the City Clerk as are licenses to engage in the cansiruciion

Business . Sods consolidation of these information and permit issuing functions requires considerable

study and would effect changes that cross over deparimental lines. Debarimenis have a tendency to

hold on ta functions. Their aim is Puncte their sphere of influence not to‘ransfer it. Realignment

. f . . \ . i fo . _ 2 . *
of functions, as would be required if a\ceniral license and\permit activity were desirayhvould require
A ff ‘ ff %,

the participation of a central administrative agent whoAvould have authority over alll deparimenis.
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None presenily exists.


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