Frustration drives Hillsborough building inspector to quit

"I was assigned, one day, 91 inspections," said former Hillsborough County building inspector Benjamin Buckley.

Former Hillsborough County building inspector Benjamin Buckley.

Look around Hillsborough county, check out all the new construction. Inspectors must look through and approve each project. According to county records 8 On Your Side reviewed, each month building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical inspectors conduct tens of thousands of inspections.

“There was a very heavy workload,” former building inspector Benjamin Buckley remembers. On average county inspectors discover 30 or more code violations per day. A 2004 county document obtained by 8 On Your Side states: “The Insurance Services Organization considered a maximum of 12 to 15 inspections per day to be an acceptable level of service.”  Benjamin Buckley resigned in April writing he was usually assigned more than 30 inspections a day.

“I was assigned, one day, 91 inspections,” Buckley added. Now another resignation letter,  this one from electrical inspector Michael Lindsay.  In the letter he wrote:”The workload put on inspectors everyday is ridiculously high and way out of the industry recommended standards. Lindsay also complained of “Antiquated software, and equipment plaguing inspectors each day.”

8 On Your Side has requested a response from the county for more than a week and a half. We’ve been told the only person in all of Hillsborough government  who can respond is out of town until Wednesday. Benjamin Buckley contends management is well aware of the problems.  He worries in the rush to get inspections done, structural problems that pose potential life and safety issues may be overlooked. “We’re playing beat the clock,” he said. “Bottom line is we don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

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