City Inspections Department hits its Highest Year for Permits in 2020

The City of Valdosta continues to grow and develop in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. A sign of this growth comes directly from the Inspections Department, as they reached the highest number of permits issued as of June. With 8,000 permits already issued the city has passed all previous years on record.

The Inspections Department, in partnership with other departments and jurisdictions, within Lowndes County and the Cities of Valdosta, Lake Park, Dasher and Hahira, help both residential and commercial owners plan and execute development projects. Projects can be as simple as a home remodel and as complex as constructing a new building on undeveloped property. The main goal for the Inspections Department throughout the permit process is to ensure the health, welfare, and safety of city residents by enforcing local codes and safety regulations. This is achieved by requiring building plans to be submitted and reviewed by the Inspections Department before a permit can be issued so that these construction projects do not pose any future liability to not just the owner but all city residents.

“Any work such as mechanical, plumbing, electrical, general contractor, residential contractor all require licensing. With that licensing comes a set of codes that require permitting so people can get inspections done and make sure those licensed contractors are doing what they need to be doing according to that set of codes,” said Inspections Manager Rick Mefford.

Not complying with the permitting process could be extremely costly as they are required by law. Individuals caught without a permit will receive a court summons and are responsible for paying fines as well as court fees. However, rather than punish homeowners that are unaware of the permitting process, the Inspection Department wants to educate them on why these permits are necessary. “If the owner is not aware of the situation we work with them and try to educate them first.” said Mefford.

Failure to comply can result in not just fines and court fees but further complications to the owner as well. Some homeowners are finding that when they try to sell or refinance their home, prospective buyers or lending institutions want proof that alterations are in compliance with local codes. Without a permit and inspection on record, there is no proof. The homeowner must then apply for a permit with no guarantee that the construction will meet the codes, and they face the possibility of redoing or removing the work. These steps are costly and frustrating and could cause delays in refinancing or even result in a lost sale of the home.

Inspections Manager Rick Mefford stresses the importance of these codes by stating, “There are codes and regulations that have to be followed to protect your neighbors, your neighborhood and the people around you.”

Nonetheless, it appear as though many residents are not only aware of the permitting process but are making a conscious effort to abide by it. “We’ve issued over 8,000 permits so far, which tells you that people are doing the right thing by going through the inspection process required to get these permits approved,” said Mefford. With the help from the Inspections Department and responsible residents, our city continues to flourish during these times of uncertainty.

For more information on what projects require permits and any general building and inspection inquires, please contact the Inspections Department at 229-259-3506.