City changing up permits, inspections

Published 9:15 am Friday, June 8, 2012

The City of Bainbridge is contracting with a company to handle its building department services, following the retirement of long-time building official/inspector Bob Gardner.

SAFEbuilt, which is based in Colorado, is a national company that provides building and safety services to local governments. City Manager Chris Hobby said the firm already has contracts with small municipalities in the Atlanta area and is looking to expand into Southwest Georgia.

The city has contracted SAFEbuilt’s services on an interim basis for June and July. George Dixon, a certified Building Code Official, will be in Bainbridge three days a week beginning June 12. However, applications for permits and scheduling of inspections can be done five days a week out of City Hall using software.

Bainbridge contractors used to calling up Gardner impromptu may have to get used to scheduling appointments beforehand, Hobby said. However, Dixon will handle emergency calls on days he is not in Bainbridge if his schedule allows, he said.

Due to the economic downturn, the workload of the city’s Building Department has declined, Hobby said.

“It’s no longer a 40-hour-per week position, but it would be difficult to find someone willing to do the job part-time,” he said.

In response to Councilman Luther Conyers’ query, Hobby said he has had discussions with Decatur County officials to see whether it would be feasible to combine the two governments’ building departments.

“I could see it being beneficial to us if SAFEbuilt is able to contract with other cities in Southwest Georgia, to allow the building inspector’s time to be shared,” Hobby said. “We’re all enforcing the same codes, after all.”