Building and Safety Inspectors Complete Transition to Mobile Offices

INDIO –Thanks to new heat-resistant mobile computers, virtual inspections and in-vehicle WiFi, the city of Indio’s Building and Safety inspectors now have the ability to work almost completely remotely.

The pandemic necessitated some of these transitions in the spring, but cooperation between the City’s Internet Technology (IT), Fleet and Community Development Departments have now allowed this capability to exceed expectations.

“When the coronavirus hit in March, our world was somewhat turned upside down,” said Gil Estrada, Chief Building Official.  “Part of Building and Safety’s mission was to continue to provide our services in the best manner possible where our inspectors, co-workers, and the public we serve were protected.”

Early on, building inspectors started offering FaceTime or Lifesize inspections, which allow them to avoid entering buildings for prolonged periods.  In addition, they were able to operate from mobile workspaces.  However, inspectors now have computers designed specifically for working on or around construction sites, which also hold up well in extremely hot temperatures.  Indio City Building and Safety inspectors also have personal WiFi hotspots, giving them the ability to provide notes and complete forms in real time, plus have access to permit history, permit notes, and plan checks, all from the field.

The increased mobility expedites the inspection process for the public by allowing paperwork to be completed from inspectors’ mobile offices, instead of in the physical office at the end of the work-day.  In addition, inspectors can scan and upload permit records and job cards to contractors without printing, or coming back to the office.

“We are truly appreciative of this joint effort to help serve the public more effectively and efficiently,” said Estrada/ The city’s four building inspectors average about 30 inspections per day.

Image Sources

  • Mobile office: City of Indio