When I was first asked to provide a short “blurb” about the Building Inspector’s Office, I reluctantly agreed. It was only after a bit of reflection that I recognized an opportunity to pro-vide some insight into local codes, and some information to help keep the community safe.
Keeping the communities of the state safe was the premise for creation of what is now known as the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, and for the State Energy Conservation Construction Code. The Building Inspector, or more accurately the Code Enforcement Officer, is appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of the codes and must be certified by the Department of State. This certification is obtained through a series of training programs in all aspects of building construction and fire safety. Code Enforcement Officers are also required to attend “continuing education” courses each year to retain certification. I’ve been the Code Enforcement Officer since September 2007 when my predecessor, Don Otis, retired. Don continues to be active with his own construction and remodeling activities and is still seen out and about in town.
I review all applications for building permits, issue appropriate permits and eventually issue certificates of occupancy or compliance once a project is complete. I also conduct construction inspections―in Gardiner that means at least 13 separate inspections for every new house or commercial building―to insure that codes are complied with and that structures are built as intended. The Building Department maintains records of these applications and inspections for properties throughout the town. “Stop Work Orders” are issued when deficiencies must be corrected, or when work is begun without a permit.
The Code Enforcement Officer also investigates allegations of violations of the Town Code. My previous experience with the State Police is particularly helpful in this. I also perform fire safety and property maintenance inspections of all commercial buildings and multiple dwellings, review applications for more significant projects and make appropriate referrals to the Town, Planning or Zoning Board of Appeals as the Town Zoning Law requires.
Most people realize that a building permit is required to erect a building, however, many do not know that a permit is also required when a solid fuel-burning heating appliance or chimney is installed, or when an interior wall is moved or an alteration is made to a building’s structural support. Some may view the need for a permit as intrusive, but the safety of the occupants and any first responder should a need arise overrides this. I encourage anyone who is unsure of the need for a permit to contact me or my able assistant, Jewell Turner, at the Town Hall. We’ll provide the application documents, clarify zoning issues, ensure contractors have the required insurance, and provide whatever assistance is needed to see your project through.