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Warren County responds to building office study

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

Changes to Warren County's building inspections department should make it easier for homeowners to make improvements to their investments, officials say.

The department earlier this month set in place measures to speed up the process by which the county reviews plans for small projects. The change affects the review of plans for projects such as non-complex decks, signs, simple interior alterations, dents and demolitions, according to a release issued by the county. Department staff will spend an hour each morning to review plans in an effort to reduce the process time to as little as two days, the release states.

A recently completed management study of the department found it often took longer than needed for staff to process applications for smaller projects. The study recommended the department make changes to speed up the process.

"We're taking it very seriously and we are making changes at the recommendation of the study," said County Building Official David Beahm, who noted most changes to the department would occur in the next couple of months.

The study also looked at the computer software used by the building inspections department and in place since 1992. The department is looking at replacing the software in the next six to 12 months, a need made even more apparent through the study, Beahm said. New software would make the processes easier for both the customers and staff, according to Beahm.

The change in the way the department processes certain applications should help homeowners wishing to complete small projects, according to Beahm.

"Well, typically we do everything in a first-come, first-serve basis and what would end up happening sometimes is [a small project] would get lost in the shuffle where you would have a large project ahead of it and that one wouldn't get looked at until the large project was over and completed," Beahm said. "It's a process by which where we're trying to alleviate any of the delays just because there's a large project ahead of it."

Reviewing the plans in the morning allow staff time to call applicants if questions arise during the process. The applicant then has time to provide answers to staff who document the information and the plan can move forward for approval, according to the release. The department could approve and make ready for pickup a plan and completed application filed the previous day, according to Beahm.

The building official noted the department plans more changes in the near future, including sending staff to a seminar on customer relations.

"Hopefully we can make a better experience for everybody that comes through the door," Beahm said.

Find building inspections department forms and other information on the county website, or contact Beahm by email at dbeahm@warrencountyva.net or at 636-9973.


Sure hope the changes gofurther and take in commercial and retail applications. I can only guess how many business did not come or left because of our reputation for being difficult to deal with. It was very frustrating for me in working with this group when I started my business. My guess is I am not alone.

Beahm blames the departments software for his inability to multitask? Does this explain why all applications were processed serially, not in parallel? Does this excuse Beahm from accepting responsibility for his slowness or are we witness to a square peg in a round hole?

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