County approves new inspector, rules for growth
With home construction in Douglas County recovering and several major projects at Stateline, a new inspector and a new set of rules for inspections are in the works.
Douglas County commissioners approved hiring a new inspector after being told that home building permits in the county were on track to more than double in fiscal year 2014.
With less than half the year accounted for, the county has issued 149 single-family dwelling permits, up from 107 in 2013.
That’s compared to 35 in 2011.
When the recession hit in 2009, the 10-person department cut three employees, including an inspector. Two more building inspectors were cut the next year, which left five employees in the department.
The lead building inspector was reinstated last year. In September of this year the county hired an on-call inspector to keep up with demand. Funding for the position will come from building permit fees.
While building may have slowed down to nearly a crawl over the recession, work on the building inspection standards continued.
County officials have been working for more than two years to standardize the county’s design criteria and improvement standards.
Division 11 will provide written protocols for testing of materials and inspection of construction work.
“This solves problems that truly did need solving,” Commissioner Greg Lynn said. “Douglas County had an unevenness in the inspection process for decades. This is a big deal. It’s removing a significant conflict that has been going on under the surface all these years.”
Nilssen said the standards have been through a dozen revisions over the last two years.
“There have been a lot of people with a lot of regional experience who have looked at this,” he said. “It will give us better inspector contractor communication.”
Engineer Rob Anderson praised the county for its work on the rules.
“I’m here to say thank you to county commissioners and staff for working diligently to get through Division 11,” he said. “It has been an effective process.”
A side benefit will be the ability for the county to delegate inspections to a town, utility or general improvement district, which would mean builders would no longer have to pay for multiple agencies to inspect a project.
Nilssen estimated that would have saved builders $23,000 during the six months between April and September this year.
He said that the Gardnerville Ranchos and Kingsbury general improvement districts have expressed an interest in doing their own inspections.