Texas ordinance allowing third-party inspectors, relieves backlogged pool builders
An Austin, Texas, ordinance allowing pool builders to use third-party inspectors on their projects has fostered a more streamlined experience for both builders and city municipalities.
“Due to the lack of available city inspectors [in Austin], it can take days or even weeks to move onto the next part of the pool installation process,” says Anthony Perera, founder of Inspected.com, a patent-pending remote video inspection mobile application that allows builders nationwide to get their projects inspected. The company is helping ensure pools and spas are compliant with code requirements in Austin. “Before it would take anywhere from three to six months to build a pool [partly due to waiting for an inspection], but now pool builders can finish projects in 30 to 60 days. When you think about how many pools can be built in that time, it’s an incredible impact.”
The ordinance went into effect in March 2021 after the Austin City Council voted on June, 4, 2020, to adopt the 2018 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code. According to an email from the City of Austin regarding the ordinance, residential swimming pool permit applications submitted after September 1, 2020 require a third-party inspection. Third-party inspectors must have the proper credentials and have a Certificate of Learning Achievement for swimming pool projects.
Ensuring a new build or renovation is up to code is a given for pool builders, but the inspection process and requirements vary widely across the country. For a builder like Chad Davies, construction and retail operations manager for Mastercraft Pool and Spa in Pocatello, Idaho, the process is less backlog-inducing. “We don’t have as many inspections as other states,” Davies says. “Our state leaves it up to each city to decide. Most cities only require an electrical inspection, which happens through the electrical contractors permit. We feel lucky that inspections never slow our production as it stands now. I hope that continues as long as I build pools.”
For builders with more requirements to navigate, the inspection process can keep a project in limbo and backups can ensue, especially amid the high demand for pools the last two years. For inspectors and builders in Austin, this new ordinance helps take the edge off.
According to a press release from Inspected.com, the virtual inspection company has certified experts to support local pool and spa contractors to clear permits faster while confirming all city codes are followed.
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“To alleviate the stress that hundreds of Texas homeowners and builders are facing with long wait times for their pool construction and renovation projects, Inspected.com will now provide third-party virtual inspections on-demand,” the release states. “As a third-party inspector provider, Inspected.com ensures pools and spas are compliant with code requirements prior to a final inspection completed by the City of Austin.”
Mike Wiseman, owner of Blue Ox Pools in Leander, Texas, says the remote features can save contractors time, personnel and money by providing instant access to a deep roster of qualified virtual inspectors. “Through Inspected.com’s virtual inspections, we can complete dozens of inspections safely, quickly and efficiently to provide our customers a better experience,” Wiseman says.
Perera says the company is seeing a continued demand in service throughout a variety of industries, including pool builders through Austin’s new code adoption. “Aside from our business growth over the last few years from the ordinances and laws, which have allowed third-party and virtual inspections, it has been rewarding to help those who work in construction and home renovation fields support their customers for their success,” Perera says. “The code adoption in Austin has made swimming pools safer and more energy-efficient. Our inspection process ensures that the new code is conformed to while concurrently making the pool builder’s job of abiding by that code much easier.”
Perera says Inspected.com’s experience in Austin since the ordinance has been positive. “We are seeing firsthand how the ordinance is benefiting pool builders who are leveraging their resources out there,” he explains. “They no longer feel like they get stuck and can’t move on to the next step.”
Alpharetta’s Swimming Pool Permitting Procedures manual states that some jurisdictions allow pool builders or homeowners to hire a private inspector to perform code mandated inspections that the jurisdiction’s inspectors may not be qualified to do or cannot do in a timely manner, per Georgia law. Regarding virtual inspections, Perera says he hopes other municipalities follow in Austin’s footsteps after seeing the success in utilizing virtual, third-party providers.