Sierra Vista Herald
Planning and development officials outlined a program that would conserve county resources while recognizing the expertise of contractors to perform work within the scope of their licenses — without the need for the county to provide inspection services.
At first blush, supervisors were friendly to the idea.
The cost to run an inspector out to a job site is carried by both the builders and the county, sometimes slowing down the construction process and adding another fee onto the overall price of a project.
Other inspections, to ensure a building is in compliance with health, utility, septic, zoning, watershed and other codes, would still require an on-site visit by a qualified inspector.
And, the liability of the guarantee would be carried by the licensed contractors who participate in the self-certification program. In other words, if the construction fails to comply with the local building code, there would be legal consequences and costs for the contractor.
Supervisors listened to the presentation at a meeting Feb. 5, and will discuss it further at an upcoming work session.
In the interim, county officials will gather input from the Southeastern Arizona Contractors Association and other builders on what to be wary of, and what needs to be added to the proposed program.
In a perfect world, the reputation of the contractor would be enough protection for the consumer to ensure that the requirements of the building code would be met, with or without an inspection.
Unfortunately, the reason the existing process is in place — requiring the county to dispatch an inspector to a job site and look at the work to make sure it’s up to code — is because we don’t live in a perfect world.
Ultimately, for the self-certification program to work effectively, contractors have to recognize that it is their shared reputation that is being trusted to comply with the county building code.
As the old saying goes: One bad apple spoils the barrel.
County supervisors were smart to get more input on this idea. Let’s see what happens next.