Bruce Stanley is quickly getting up to speed as building inspector for both Orchard City and Cedaredge. Although Cedaredge has zoning and Orchard City does not, and Cedaredge has a code enforcement officer and Orchard City does not, both communities have adopted the 2006 building codes for residential and commercial construction.
As building inspector, Stanley oversees new construction, repairs, rebuilds, remodels and excavations -- in other words, any project that requires a permit. His primary focus is protecting public safety; second is his desire to help folks accomplish their goals.
"The whole point is not to put up roadblocks, but to find the best way of accomplishing what folks want to do with a friendly, progressive, productive approach," he said.
Stanley is a mining engineer by trade and worked on several large industrial projects before moving to western Colorado. He was recently certified in inspection of residential construction and will be taking the exam for commercial certification within a month. He also trained under Dan Scott, the former building inspector for Cedaredge and Orchard City, for whom he said he has the highest regard.
While the building codes are voluminous, they can not address every specific set of conditions. In those cases, the building inspector has the authority to interpret the standards to determine if the intent of the building code is being met. If it's impossible or impractical to comply with the requirements of the building code, Stanley will work with the builder or homeowner to determine how best to meet the challenge.
At the completion of the project, Stanley will issue either a certificate of occupancy (for a residence or commercial structure), or a certificate of completion. A certificate of completion is issued when the homeowner has continued to occupy the dwelling during construction -- for example, during replacement of the roof or the remodel of a kitchen after a small fire.
Permits are not finalized without first verifying compliance with county and state regulations for septic, plumbing and electrical systems. Occasionally, the Colorado Department of Transportation must also sign off on access. Stanley handles only structural concerns.
Although Stanley works just two days a week -- Tuesday/Thursday mornings in Cedaredge and Tuesday/Thursday afternoons in Orchard City, he tries not to hold up work on a job site.
If he's driving through town, he'll stop by and take a look at the work in progress, upon request. If he can't make it, he asks for a photo to document the work.
"Yes, I will reject some inspections based upon code requirements, but I will talk to the constructor or owner and explain why," he said. Education and, occasionally, guidance for novice do-it-yourselfers go with the job.
Building codes are updated every three years, Stanley said, with 2018 being the most recent update.
"Eventually we're going to have to upgrade to a more recent code," he said, but trustees may elect to make exceptions to some provisions. The new codes are much more restrictive in some cases, Stanley noted. For example, the 2015 building code requires sprinkler systems in all new residences, which could be quite costly, but adopting the standards for energy efficiency are also much more stringent. In adopting a newer building code, municipalities can make exceptions to some of those provisions, Stanley said.
In regards to enforcement, Stanley said, "We don't go looking for problems, even though Cedaredge does have code enforcement. Violations have to be fairly significant."
Stanley said he is continually learning on the job, and is enjoying networking with other professionals and meeting new people.
With construction on the uptick in both Cedaredge and Orchard City, he'll have even more opportunities to get out and about and meet new people.
Cedaredge had three home starts in 2016 and eight in 2017. There were a total of 51 permits for repairs, rebuilds, remodels and excavations in 2017, compared to 45 in 2016.
In Orchard City, 51 permits were issued in 2017, compared to 32 in 2016. Residential home starts jumped from five in 2016 to 16 in 2017.