City of Richland offering virtual inspections during pandemic and beyond
RICHLAND, Wash.-- From the start of the initial shut downs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and homeowners in Washington were allowed to make needed repairs. In those cases where repairs require a permit, most also require an inspection to ensure that the work is done properly.
The City of Richland's Planning Department now conducts many of those inspections are now done remotely in order to promote social distancing.
"This basically allows the building inspector to remotely view the project just using a webcam, that can be on a smart phone or iPad- something with video capability," said Michael Boring, Plans Examiner for the City of Richland. "We can help guide you through the inspection to make sure that everything is done according to the plans and manufacturer's recommendations."
Boring expects the city continue using the remote option for inspections even after social distancing restrictions are lifted.
"There are a lot of jurisdictions currently using this, such as L.A. County, Thurston, Whatcom. This is a process that a lot of people were using before the pandemic started," Boring said. "So, I really do think that this is the future."
He said he expects the department to use virtual inspections when possible, and that the types of inspections that can be done remotely will expand as the department gets more comfortable with the process. Boring said not only does the remote process keep employees safe by limiting their exposure to other people, but it's also more efficient and environmentally friendly.
"If we're able to do inspections virtually, we're reducing people out on the road, so we're actually reducing our carbon footprint by not having people drive to sites," Boring said.
To schedule a virtual or in-person inspection, email firstname.lastname@example.org.