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  • Building inspections via Skype starting Oct. 1

    Sep 30, 2015 | Read More News
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    Pima County’s Development Services Department will launch a remote inspection program on Oct. 1 that uses Skype to connect inspectors with clients for building inspections requiring prompt service or a specific time. 

    “We are excited to provide just-in-time inspection services, thereby maximizing efficiencies for both clients and the County all while preserving effectiveness in ensuring public safety,” said Yves Khawam, Chief Building Official, Development Services (DSD).

    The program will work for all types of building permits, as long as DSD has electronic copies of the plans.  Permits with no electronic plans will require on-site inspections.

    The department recommends the remote program for permits involving electrical reconnect and water heater or mechanical system replacement where a contractor has just finished the work and needs the county’s approval to complete the project.  

    “Giving clients the ability to request an inspection while the contractor is still on-site is convenient and less expensive for them,” said Rich Franz-Under, Project Manager with DSD. “Inspectors spend an average of three hours per day driving.  Anything we can do to convert drive time to inspection time allows us to better serve clients and keep our expenses low.”

    Before scheduling an inspection, clients should confirm the inspection site has 4G wireless service or WiFi, create a Skype account and install the Skype application on their wireless device. Areas with 3G connectivity may not provide the speed and clarity needed to complete the remote inspection.

    Complex projects involving a high level of detail or large size may need an on-site inspection.  The inspector will make this determination during the remote inspection process.

    “Our inspectors are highly trained and know what they’re looking for during these inspections.  If we cannot be 100 percent sure the work meets code standards through Skype, we will make every effort to send a field inspector later the same day or schedule the inspection for the next business day,” said Franz-Under. 

    Customers can schedule an inspection online, up to an hour prior to their requested start time depending on availability, through DSD's calendaring service . They will need their permit on hand when scheduling and depending on the inspection type, they may need tools during the inspection, such as a tape measure, level, GFCI tester, or step ladder for ceiling close-ups.

    The inspector will notify the customer if the site passed or failed at the end of the process. If it passed, the work can proceed to the next step or if it’s a final commercial or residential inspection, the inspector will issue a certificate of occupancy or place the permit in final status. 

    Get more information about the remote inspection program and its requirements.