Hillsborough County overloads building inspectors

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – One need only look to the storms in Manatee and Sarasota counties this past weekend to appreciate the importance that buildings are constructed according to building codes.

Logs obtained by 8 On Your Side show Hillsborough County inspectors may not have time to be sure. According to the logs, on Thursday, Jan. 21, the county assigned 81 inspections to one building inspector, 63 to another and 60 to another.

On Wednesday, Jan. 20,  one building inspector was assigned 77 inspections. Another received 68 assignments, and a third was given 64.

The International Code Council recommends 16 to 18 inspections per day per inspector.

8 On Your Side showed the logs to county commissioner Al Higginbotham. “It’s a heavy workload, and I don’t know how you accomplish 80 inspections in an 8-hour day,” Higginbotham said.

The heavy workload led building inspector Benjamin Buckley to quit last year. On one day the county assigned him 91 inspections. In his resignation letter, Buckley cited poor working conditions and an overload that creates undo stress.

“If we’re under a lot of pressure, you know, I believe that something could be missed,” Buckley explained. “We’re playing beat the clock.”

Another resignation letter from electrical inspector Michael Lindsay stated, “The workload put on inspectors every day is ridiculously high and way out of the industry recommended standards.”

Building Official Mike Rimoldi told 8 On Your Side, one reason for the back up this week was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The county might shut down for business, but not the building industry.  Rimoldi contends the county is doing a better job coordinating with builders to help ease the load on inspectors.

However, Higginbotham said, “When you see a workload that’s that high, it makes you wonder why.”

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