The Placer County Building Department will introduce a new automated inspection scheduling system May 18 that will make it faster and easier for the public to request building inspections and find out inspection results.
“Developers, families building their own homes and everyone else needing to schedule inspections will find a lot to like about the new system,” Chief Building Official Bob Martino said. “It will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will allow us to streamline our operations while improving customer service.”
The Interactive Voice Response System can be used by anyone with a touch-tone telephone to schedule, reschedule and cancel inspections and to receive inspection results.
The telephone numbers to call for building-inspection requests remain the same: 530-581-6205 in the Lake Tahoe area and 530-745-3020 for other areas of Placer County.
Currently, callers requesting building inspections are connected to the department’s voice mail system and are asked to leave messages. Once a day, staff retrieves the requests from the voice mail system and schedules the inspections.
The new system will schedule inspections automatically, freeing up building inspectors to get in the field earlier and spend more of their days conducting inspections. With the new system, requests must be made by 4 p.m. if the caller wants an inspection to be scheduled for the following day.
Martino emphasized that staff will be available to help callers who have trouble using the automated system.
The new system allows inspectors to call in and post results so they are available more quickly to builders and property owners. There is also an option by which the caller can choose to be automatically notified of the inspection results. Now, inspectors typically post results when they return to their offices near the end of the work day.
The system also will automatically notify utilities such as Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and the Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District via e-mail in cases where buildings must pass inspections successfully before power or gas can be turned on. An automatic notification could mean having power turned on the same day as the inspection, rather than the next day, Martino said.
He and his staff have mailed letters explaining the new system to everyone who holds active building permits, given handouts to builders and property owners and explained the new system on the department’s Web site at www.placer.ca.gov/building.
Martino also has spoken to building industry groups to explain the new system.
He said the main challenge created by the switch to the automated system has been notifying everyone who has existing, active building permits.
Anyone holding an existing permit will need a permit identification number to use the new system. Known as a PID for short, the number is different from the building permit number.
The department tried to use the building permit numbers for both purposes, but found the new system would not accept them because they use decimal points to indicate the years the permits were issued.
To use the automated system, the public also will need to enter inspection code numbers indicating what types of inspections are needed. These will be provided with every permit issued.
The complete list of inspection code numbers is available in a brochure produced by the department, on the department’s Web site at www.placer.ca.gov/building and at the front counter in the county’s Community Development Resource Center. The center is at 3091 County Center Drive in the Placer County Government Center, a North Auburn complex commonly known as the DeWitt Center.
The automated system will help callers identify the right inspection code numbers if necessary.