Building codes aren’t going away. Simply put, they are the law of the land.
But, in reality, building codes are not the problem. Business owners, contractors, and builders are, by and large, willing to comply with standards that promote and enhance safety.
The real problem is the enforcement of building code—more specifically, how City of Delta enforces its building code. Our Community Development department, which is tasked with the compliance of building code, has a bad reputation—one that often influences contractors to jack up the price of their bids or for businesses to reconsider our city as a destination for their operations.
And this department has earned that reputation for several reasons: building requirements are rarely written out or itemized; what is required may change at the last second before certificate of occupancy can be obtained; an unqualified inspector without the proper credentials has been caught trying to markup engineered plans; building code being rigidly interpreted, which is often in contrast to other communities who abide by the same code, but still manage to remain open to business development; the lack of a certified fire inspector leaves businesses at the whim of state inspectors who are even worse to work with.
To make matters worse, the word of our building inspector is final. The opportunity to appeal his decision does not exist, leaving one man with entirely too much authority.
I’m calling up our City leadership to:
Leverage existing relationships with Colorado Municipal League
Identify outside communities who have a robust economies and abide by 2003 International Building Code (IBC)
Research and identify best practices from these communities, specifically how building code is enforced but still allows for interpretation
Develop a cost-benefit analysis of a fully-certified inspector
Develop and appoint a panel of citizens responsible for appeals process for disputed code compliance