I have recently moved to Missouri, where it seems the DMV has 'gone private.' That is, private entrepraneurs open DMV office, performing the various DMV functions. One effect of this seems to be better locations for DMV offices; any retail space will do. Another is the fact -sice you can go to any office- that the shabby operations feel the loss in their pocketbooks. While one might worry about corruption, etc ... the government offices filled with civil service staff have a far from saintly record.
I wonder if we could do that with building inspections? That is, let the contractor call the office of his choice; if one office can't inspect until next week, maybe another can. Etc. Any thoughts?
I think that they used to do something like this in New Jersey back in the 1950's. My father was building our house back then, and I remember seeing an electrical inspection sticker from then on the circuit breaker panel with the name of an inspector based out of Philadelphia PA on it. Seemed that any (presumingly licensed) electrical inspector was considered valid for this. Today the town has an electrical inspector who does all inspections.
Don't know the details, the sticker is long gone (it had glue similar to that used on old style postage stamps, the ones you had to lick). But I vaguely remember my father saying that you could select your electrical inspecting agency (he worked for an architecture company back then, as an accountant so he knew who could be called upon). But my father checked out about 15 years ago, so I can't ask him about it... I suppose he still needed permits from the town, and someone from the town must have had to check that an inspection had been passed, at some point in time. But that would only require a generic government bureaucrat to do.
I was a contract inspector for the State of Florida for 8 years but that was a special deal. (only state projects). During the go go years Lee County Fl was contracting out some of their inspections. Nobody really made me an offer I couldn't refuse although a couple of the IAEI officers worked for the engineering company that was doing it and "bumped" me a couple times. The real rules were that they would own the whole permit from start to end but the reality was they would just get inspection cards now and then for things that started with Lee County. That was when a muni inspector might walk out in the morning with 40 cards spread out over half the county.
Here in the Chicago area very few jurisdictions do enough elevator inspections to be able to stay current with the requirements. Quite a few of the suburbs use the same small firm to review plans and do field inspections.
Some of the suburbs even farm out their complete plan reviews to private firms to keep the bureaucratic costs down.
I'm one of those 3rd party inspectors that work for a fee. Nice way to pick up some cash, but a definite cut in pay from my contracting income. I got into it for several reasons, but mostly looking forward to the day I hang up the tools.
There are advantages to not working for a government agency - no politics, plus the ability to move on to another agency if the head office gets too cranky.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
Tom: Yes, looking forward to hanging up the tools (for whatever reason) is a good reason to obtain inspector credentials.
Here in NJ the 3rd party guys work for a State approved company, and are hourly/salary/per diem employees. All of us inspectors are state lic., and answer to the DCA, no matter who pays our salary.
Certain jobsites (rail stations, toll roads, state property) require permits and inspections by State DCA. Plan review for certain school projects and health care facilities are performed by DCA, but inspected by 'locals'.
As to elevator inspectors...the majority of the State uses either an agency, or the State DCA. Amusement rides are state also.