San Bernardino County’s spirit of innovation, recognized in recent years with a record number of state and national awards, will soon make building inspections a whole lot easier for businesses and homeowners.
This week the county will become perhaps the first western U.S. jurisdiction to launch a virtual inspection program that will allow county building inspectors to review projects over the Internet.
“this is the kind of smart innovation that saves time, taxpayer dollars and improves customer service,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman-Robert Lovingood, who represents the county’s First District.
By downloading a special application, permit applicants will be able to show county inspectors their projects and exchange information using their smartphones or tablets. Traditionally, applicants have had to wait at their project sites for a building inspector to arrive during a ‘window of time.” The virtual inspection will take place at a precise time, eliminating the wait.
“Our customers deserve the best service we can provide,” said Board of Supervisors chairman James Ramos. “Eliminating wait times is a major improvement in how the county conducts building inspections
The program will be conducted on a pilot basis at first, only in the county’s desert and mountain communities and it will focus only on the simplest of projects including water heater installations and roof inspections.
The mountain and desert communities were chosen because they pose the greatest challenges in obtaining a sufficient wireless data connection for the program to succeed. The pilot program, which will last for 90 days, will also test the accuracy of the project site verification process and the clarity of the video signals. The goal during the pilot period is to contact two to three virtual inspections per week.
“Using technology to make the County’s inspection and permitting process more efficient will help residents and contractors save both time and money,” said Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford.” I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot project and to expanding the use of virtual technology to improve efficiences throughout the County.”
During the past four years, the County of San Bernardino has claimed more than 100 state and national innovation awards for developing and improving services for county residents and investors. The awards have recognized the county’s efforts in emergency response, inmate re-entry, senior housing, public health, behavioral health and economic development, to name a few.
According to the information from the press release this project helps fulfill several of the county’s board-adopted goals and objectives, including achievement of the Countywide Vision to create, maintain and grow jobs and economic value in the county. Additional goals are to improve county government operations and operate in a fiscally-responsible and businees-like manner and to ensure development of a well-planned, balanced and sustainable county.