Building Department Leaders: Accreditation drives service enhancements in Port St. Lucie
Port St. Lucie is the most populous municipality in St. Lucie County, Fla., with a population nearing 200,000. Located 125 miles southeast of Orlando, and more than 100 miles northwest of Miami, the area continues to grow. To improve processes to meet changing times, the Port St. Lucie Building Department took on the challenge of achieving IAS accreditation.
The IAS Building Department Accreditation Program is for governmental agencies (and third-party providers of building department services) that are proactively seeking to improve their organization. Increased efficiencies, improved decision making and enhanced public confidence in services are some of the common benefits expressed by accredited building departments.
“We want to be the best at what we do, to provide exceptional customer service and to ensure all staff are consistent in their work,” said Joel Dramis, building code administrator for Port St. Lucie.
Building consistency and trust
To begin the accreditation process Dramis’ team of 26 professionals began creating standard operating procedures and checklists for every departmental activity. “Both assisted in providing consistency and trust between the department and our customers,” Dramis said. They then began initiating valuable best practices, related to stakeholder meetings, software improvements and communications projects, such as a realtor training program and a homeowner-builder booklet. Dramis recommends that any building department that considers accreditation should be open minded. “Make your decisions based on codes and the facts,” he said. “If you are proven wrong, note it and move forward. Admit to your mistakes and treat everyone with respect and dignity.”
“Accreditation will be the best tool. It will gain your department respect from citizens, elected officials and business leaders.”
— Joel Dramis, Building Code Administrator, Port St. Lucie
Dramis cites many advantages to achieving accreditation, including the ability to attract the best candidates, increase employee retention, gain recognition as an industry leader, and build positive relationships with customers, both internal and external. If your building department could benefit from new ideas and system enhancements, IAS provides a one-day training program for individuals interested in better understanding the requirements for the accreditation of building departments and third-party providers of building department services.
This article is part of series from the International Accreditation Service (IAS) profiling building departments and third-party service providers accredited by IAS — a non-profit accreditation body and a subsidiary of the International Code Council. Building Department Accreditation and Building Department Third-Party Service Providers Accreditation are two of the programs offered by IAS to provide evidence that departments have met a national accreditation standard and are competent to provide public safety services for their communities. To learn more about these accreditation programs, visit Building Department Accreditation and Building Department Third-Party Service Providers Accreditation.