Box 1, Folder 1, Document 3

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Box 1, Folder 1, Document 3

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The Building Inspectdrleepartment

The Building lnspectdgbepartment '

Wit-administers and enforces the Zoning

Ordinance, the Housing and Slum Clearance Code, the Housing Demolition Ordinance, the Georgia

Safety Fire Law and the Elevator Ordinance. lts responsibilities generally regulate the private use of
private property. The manner in which the department does its iob and works with other agencies bo h
in and out of the City government will be reflected in the quality of total community developrre nt .
[fiat-Ting, organization, and records must be so developed as to have Flexibility, comprehensiveness,

and sensitivity to the needs and requirements of area action. the Bu'lding lnspectesss Department has

been the subiect at extensive review and reorganization to better prepare it for the? role. Implementation

of the reorganization is now in the Final stage. WWW
the-reeent—hietary‘tfi‘th‘é‘fi'fimm It would be inappropriate to attempt to evaluate performance

.5‘ . . 1; . . .. - 111 y eelopmentja constan.

in 1964 Public Administration Service prepared a survey report relating to the consolidation of
inspection :servicegin the City of Atlanta. This report reviewed and identified all inspectional functions
carried out among several departments with-lithe City government. The maior attention of the report
was focused on the Department of Building Inspections. The‘tindings of the report led to recommendations
for an expanded department of Building Inspections to include plumbing inspection (from the Construction
Department), electrical inspection (From the Department of Electricity) and housing code inspection

(from the Department 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 departments and agencies. No one lost his tab or was reduced in salary due to the implementation

of these recommendations.


The Building Inspection Department H _ - Page 2

Consolidation began in. July of 1964. ln‘Bhe beginning little more could be accomplished than
to effect a legal change. The various officefs were spread from the third floor of City Hall to the
thirteenth floor. iln iate summer 1965, one year later,maior office realignments were made at City Hall
yich resulted in the Building InSpecti‘on Department occupying all of the eighth and ninth floors. W“;
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Physlcal provrsions were made for a central records ard statistical unit and the central permits desk.

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

inspection divisions.

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

no separate zoning .- ;/


Division. The building inspectors carry on this dual function. I

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One aspect off-the zoning enforcement and control is in the


Planning Departmenti Street number assignment and zoning certification and applications for


rezoning are functions of the Planning Dl'epartment. it seems logical that the zoning information


section of the Planning Department could-most lc7kally be assigned to the Building Inspection Department.
This would be another important step in con'sol7ating related functions concerning building construction.

Another area of responsibility that could property be assigned to the Building Inspection Department

would be the functions now carried out by e'Repartment of City Hall. The Buitdi'ng Department

presentiy supplies the Department of City Hali dpdmbimerxfiiowbniadingm with technical assistance

and prepares plans and supervises ail a ditions and 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

custodiai duties at City Hall, sup rvising alteration-is to all City buildings, and tag provide technical

information and assistance to ot er City departments'in the operation and maintenance of their buildings.

An Organization Chart indic ting the present organization and including the suggested addition of the


Division of City Buildings is presented in Chart I .


The Building Inspector-s Department ‘ Page 3

Staffing . The Department has a technical staff of 72 and a clerical staff of 16. The technical

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

architect engineers, ten plumbing inspectors, TO 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 either registered engineers or architects. Most of the

specialized inspectors are licensed in their trades.

Dual Inspections . There is a decided trend throughout the cou'hty 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 housing. 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 residential 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 its dual inspections to include
Housing Code inspections to all its inspectional specialities. Every inspector, then, would 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 lnSpectional services are provided to insure the health, safety and general welfare

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

in accordance with accepted standards. Plumbing inSpectiolns 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 preperiy and includes provisions for smoke abatement in order to reduce

The Building lnspecté'i'slDepartment ' 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).
It is the general purpose of housing inspection to upgrade the standing of living in existing housing.
Zoning ordinance enforcement activities support the regulationlof land use, control of height

and bulk of buildings, establish area requirements 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 i0 years?!

Year . Value of Building (millions Number of Permits

of Dollars)
1955 76 -’ 10,6i3
1956 59 9,682
1957 59 7,791
T958 108 8,327
1959 114 . 8,728
1960 9] 8,3il
T961 96 . I 10,158,
1962 117 9.357
1963 109 9,168

1964 150 9,142
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Building Codes . The City of Atlanta provides through these various codes a high standard of
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construction. The National Building Code is basically used for building. In i965 axes-i-ved

National Electrical/will be issued which will be adopted by the City, Currently the City is using


the existing National Electrical 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 model code,
b ut do incorporate high standards. Generally, the codes provide for eight inspections to be made
during actual construction. A final inspection ismade upon completion of all work to assure
conformance to land use, type of building, area of lot and other requirements of the zoning and

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

The Buiidingingpection Department Page 5

Budget and Revue. The department 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 pOpuiation receive 75 per cent 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 permits

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 Department} Sewer permits, Street Opening permits,

sewer assessments, curhcut permits and location of sewer faciiities are obtained from the Construction
Department. Applications for rezoning and street numbers are provided at the Planning Department.
Copies of the Zoning Code are purchased from the City Clerk as are licenses to engage in the- construction I '
Business . Complete consolidation of these information and permit issuing functions requires considerable

/ .
study and would effect changes that cross over departmental lines. De rtments have a tendep-cy to

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hold on t functions. Their aim is ta\increase their spher‘ of ipfluence not to‘t ansfer it./Reaiignment
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of functions as would be required if a‘central license anda'permit actlvrty were des%uld reqmre

the participation ofa central administrative agent whovaould have authority over p’ll departments.

None presentiy exists.

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