County building inspectors busy despite construction lull

Bradley Polk

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County officials recently tried to set the record straight about the building inspections department’s workload.

Bradley Polk, director of the Office of Community Development, confirmed that the building inspectors remain busy handling permits for various kinds of construction across the county.

“We will continue with the staff we have to review plans, issue permits and conduct inspections,” Polk said recently.

An acting or interim building official likely would need to take over for Mike Dellinger, who resigned from the position last week, but not for a lack of work, Polk said.

Dellinger started working for Shenandoah County in October 2012, a few years after the county shrunk its Office of Community Development as a result of the economic recession that led to less construction. He begins work for Albemarle County as its building official and director of building. Dellinger follows Doug Walker, who resigned as the administrative chief for Shenandoah County several years ago to take an assistant administrator position in Albemarle County.

Dellinger stated in an email Friday, in response to reports he left the county for lack of work, that “the information that was published was misquoted and is not entirely correct as the building department is as busy now as it has been the past four and a half years.”

“As to why I’m moving on, both children are away in college and my wife and I have discussed downsizing and possibly moving towards that area,” Dellinger states in the email. “This opportunity came available, which is closer to my existing home and possibly closer to where we might move.”

The inspections office issued 104 permits in February – a combination of residential, commercial, new construction, additions, alterations and trades, Dellinger noted.

The office issues five to 10 new residential building permits per month for single-family dwellings, according to information from the county. This number doesn’t include permits issued for modifications, renovations or expansions to existing buildings. A single permit can result in a few or many visits from the building department.

“We still have plenty of commercial projects that get inspected,” Polk said.

For example, the recent announcement of the investment by Filibuster Distillery into an existing building still means the department needs to conduct inspections at the site during the course of the work on the property. Inspections on this project would not fall under the permits issued for new construction, Polk explained.

In addition to the 104 permits issued in February, hundreds remain open in various stages of completion.

The building department employed three inspectors, a building code official who also performs inspections and a plans reviewer when fully staffed. The plans reviewer also performs inspections.

The department conducted 604 inspections in February. Dellinger’s departure leaves the department with one inspector certified to inspect both commercial and residential buildings. Dellinger’a departure also leaves the department with two vacancies to fill.

A building inspector left to become the building official for Page County a few months ago. Another inspector also left the department recently, Polk said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com