Tallahassee creates virtual building inspections to save jobs and keep social distancing

Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 5:59 PM EDT
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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News

April 8, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The City of Tallahassee is using technology to keep people in the construction and home improvement business working as much as possible, creating virtual inspections.

The goal of the virtual system is to preserve local jobs, while minimizing human contact and avoiding the spread of COVID-19.

The City hopes to protect the health of inspectors, contractors, and homeowners.

"We wanted to do everything we could possibly do at the City level to keep people working," explained Karen Jumonville, the Director of Growth Management.

The tool will be used in occupied residential homes for items such as heating and air conditioning units, or a gas permit.

Virtual inspections allow for less face-to-face contact, as well as saving time.

"Results can be entered into the computer right there," said Jumonville.

Jumonville says there is no major difference between a virtual inspection rather than an in-person one.

"It was of primary importance that we make sure the quality of the inspection is at the exact same level or higher than the inspection that you would get in person," she said.

Jay Wolfe with Capital Plumbing Contractors agrees, saying virtual can be just as efficient.

"We can call them when we get there and it's an instant thing, so it helps out," said Wolfe, the General Manager of Capital Plumbing.

Wolfe says he thinks the new system will help workers follow CDC guidelines of social distancing.

"It's one less person coming in for the homeowner, one less person that's around the service plumber, or the plumber that's out there working. So it protects all of us, helps us keep that six foot distance."