Building department leaders: Small town takes big step to achieve accreditation
Named one of the best small towns in America, Easton, Md., resides on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. While the town is home to just 16,000 residents, its Building Department Manager Thomas Diem felt International Accreditation Service (IAS) accreditation was the right path for them. “It allowed the department and its processes to be evaluated by a non-biased, third-party entity,” said Diem. The IAS Building Department Accreditation Program is for governmental agencies and third-parties providing 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 benefits of accreditation.
Diem says that preparing for accreditation resulted in the creation of very valuable processes, such as the establishment of service goals, the requirements for staff training and the methods for documenting and reporting findings of internal audits. While the department’s staff is small, their commitment to the accreditation process was huge.
“Never destroy a new day by overthinking the mistakes of yesterday. The accreditation process will point out shortfalls in all aspects of your department, which will spur improvements.”
— Thomas Diem, Building Department Manager, Easton, Maryland
Shortfalls inspire improvement
Diem appreciates that accreditation can be a magnifying glass that brings deficiencies to light. “Be prepared for a true snapshot of your department’s overall efficiencies and deficiencies,” he said. “Never destroy a new day by overthinking the mistakes of yesterday. The accreditation process will point out shortfalls in all aspects of your department which spur improvements; it is a never-ending circle of checks and balances, improvements, checks and balances, etc.”
Through the standards and protocols developed on their way to accreditation, the department now continuously checks, corrects and adjusts as needed to improve customer service, plan reviews and inspection accuracy. 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.