Collier, Naples and Marco Island using video for building inspections amid COVID-19 pandemic
As social distancing and working remotely become the new normal, building officials in Collier County are taking to video for some inspections. In Naples and Marco Island, video inspections have already started. Collier officials hope to launch a similar program this week. The goal is to reduce inspections inside residents’ homes to allow installers, residents and inspection staff to abide by social distancing requirements while continuing to adhere to the Florida Building Code.
Instead of in-person inspections, applicants and contractors send videos to building officials for certain projects, including residential air conditioning and electric water heater replacements. Inspectors review the footage and give whatever feedback is needed. For now, the county’s version of the program will only allow video inspections for air conditioning and water heater change-outs (not new construction); and window, door and shutter replacements, size for size. Beta testing is underway with select licensed contractors and once the program is up and running, plans are to evaluate adding additional inspection types.
FaceTime live video for inspections such as electrical, mechanical, plumbing, structural and fire in occupied buildings started in Naples in early March as a precaution due to COVID-19. The inspectors use FaceTime or another type of live video to perform the inspection with the contractor being on-site. The city is also performing video inspections on a case-by-case basis for new construction. While Naples does not have a report on the total number of video inspections performed so far in the city, the city is still performing the expected average of 125 inspections per day and plans to provide video inspections for specialty permits, such as the replacement of water heaters and air conditioners.
Marco Island has been developing its version of the program for several months and offers video inspections for residential air conditioning and electric water heater replacements. Once the installation is complete, clients must take a video of the installation, schedule an inspection, upload the video and submit it for review. Building inspectors will review the footage to ensure the installation is code compliant. All other types of inspections are being performed as they were prior to the pandemic but following the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Read more at the Naples Daily News.