As construction picks up in New Jersey, more inspectors are finding work
During and after the so-called great recession, a lot of building and remodeling projects in New Jersey were scaled back or stopped completely.
As a result, many municipal building and electrical inspectors had their hours cut back or they were just laid off.
“Many towns did reduce their workforce in the area of sub-code inspections, whether that be plumbing or electrical or building or fire — all of these different parts of construction that need to be inspected,” said Michael Darcy, executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
He pointed out, however, things are now starting to change.
“Most indicators are that construction is beginning to pick up and that construction needs to be inspected to make sure it meets all the requirements safety wise,” he said.
There is now more work for inspectors, but they still may not be employed full-time by a municipality, because many Jersey towns are scrambling to save money any way they can.
“Municipalities might just slowly begin to change their staffing, or they may decide to share an inspector with another community,” said Darcy.
“Or they may decide to hire a third-party private person on a contract basis so they don’t have them as a full-time employee.”
He pointed out in some situations, construction may be rapidly picking up, and if local officials see enough requests for permits and plans coming into their office, “they say it’s worth it to hire an inspector on a full-time basis so they can move those permits and inspections through the process in an expeditious way.”
He added different towns are doing different things.
Darcy said because we see a trend where more millennials and businesses are moving into urbanized areas, this can mean increased building and renovation work.
“All of that work does need safety inspections when they’re doing that kind of work, so it may be that some of those communities will need to hire additional inspectors for that.”
Darcy added in situations where a town or towns hire a private contractor, the fees may be higher, but “since you’re only asking them to come and do inspections once a month or something, even though you’re paying a higher rate than you would an employee, you’re overall going to be paying less for that service.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.