Box 1, Folder 1, Document 43

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The Department of Buildings 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. Its responsibilities generally regulate the 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 development. Staffing, organization, and
records must be so developed as to have flexibility, comprehensiveness,

and sesnitivity to the needs and requirements of area action.


The Department of Buildings has been the subject of extensive
review and reorganization to better prepare it for its role. Implementation
of the reorganization is now in the final stage. It would be inappropriate

to attempt to evaluate performance.

Or ganization

In 1964, Public Administration Service prepared a survey report
relating to the consolidation of inspectional services in the City of Atlanta.
This report reviewed and identified all inspectional functions carried out
among several departments within the City government. The major attention
of the report was focused on the Department of Building Inspections. The

findings of the report led to recommendations for an expended department of

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Building Inspections to include plumbing inspection ivom 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 job or was reduced in

salary due to the implementation of these recommendations.

Consolidation began in July of 1964, In the beginning little more
could be accomplished than to effect a legal change. The various offices
were spread from the third floor of City Hall to the thirteenth floor. In late
summer 1965, one year later, major office realignments were made at City
Hall which resulted in the Department of Buildings occupying all of the eighth
and ninth floors. Further office assignments were made in 1966. Physical
provisions were made for a central records and 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.


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,

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ten electrical inspectors, two elevator inspectors, nine heating and
ventilating inspectors and engineers, sixteen building inspectors and

fifteen Batecks engaged in housing code enforcement. Six technicians are
either registered engineers or architects. Most of the specialized inspectors

are licensed in their trades.

Work Program

Inspectional 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 inspections insure that water and sewer facilities
are installed in a manner that will protect the occupants health. Heating
and ventilating inspections assure that heating units are installed properly
and include provisions for smoke abatement in order to reduce 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 standard of living in
existing housing. Zoning ordinance enforcement activities support the
regulations of land use, control of height and bulk of buildings, establish area

requirements for yards and other open spaces.

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The volume of work undertaken by the department may be
measured by the value and number of building permits issued in the past

ten years.

Year Value of Building Number of Permits

(Millions of Dollars)

1955 76 10, 613
1956 59 9, 682
1957 59 7,791
1958 108 8, 327
1959 > pe 8,728
1960 91 8,311
1961 96 10, 158
1962 117 9, 357
1963 109 : 9, 168
1964 150 9, 142

Building Codes

The City of Atlanta provides through these various codes a high
standard of construction. The National Building Code is basically used for
building In 1965 a revised National Electrical Code Win -be issued which
will be adopted by the City. ) Currently the City is using the existing National
Electrical Code with sone local amendments. The City is a leader in
developing a Heating Code. This code has received national acclaim and has

been widely adopted by other cities. The Plumbing and the Housing Codes

are not based after any model code, but do incorporate high standards,

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Generally, the codes provide for eight inspections to be made during actual
construction, A final inspection is made 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.

Reven c
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 spate 100, 000 population
receive 75 per cent or more of their operating budget from fees. Thirty-
two per cent of these cities receive 100 per cent or more of their operating

budget from fees.
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, curb cut permits and location of sewer facilities are

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obtained from the Construction Department. hoeite seas 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 business. Complete consolidation of these information
and permit issuing functions requires considerable study and would effect

changes that cross over departmental lines.

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