Inspection Office Changes

An online permit tracking system and cross-training of staff are two ways the Mt. Lebanon Inspection Office is evolving and adapting to be more responsive to residents’ requests. From left, Ashley Chipps, Rodney Sarver, Nancy Wenger and Josh Meyer.

Tracking the progress of your building permit just got a lot easier. Chief Inspector Rodney Sarver and Nick Schalles, Mt. Lebanon’s IT manager, have worked together to streamline the building permit process by giving residents a way to track the permit’s progress online.

Now, when you file a permit application, you receive a code that allows you to link your permit with MyLebo, Mt. Lebanon’s resident information portal. Once linked, you will receive an email every time a note is added to your permit application.

In the past, you would have to rely on getting notifications either from the inspection office or from your contractor, who may or may not remember to give you a call.

And previously, if you had any questions about the status of your application, you would have to call or stop in the inspection office, and administrative assistant Nancy Wenger would have to search through all of the plans to see what changes or notes were added.

“Now the homeowner has a little more control in the process,” Sarver says.

Some other changes may be in the works for the inspection office. The office is charged with three main responsibilities: compliance with the zoning code, with the building code and with municipal ordinances.

For more than 30 years, the office has been structured the same way: A building inspector handled building code compliance; a code enforcement officer was responsible for enforcing ordinance compliance and a chief inspector, knowledgeable in all areas, was responsible mainly for zoning compliance but also provided supervision in the other areas.

Sarver wants to eliminate the “silos” and make the office more elastic and responsive to shifting and changing needs.

Sarver, who had been Mt. Lebanon’s building inspector, was promoted to his current position in September, following the retirement of former Chief Inspector Joe Berkley.

Josh Meyer has been hired to take Sarver’s position as building inspector. Meyer, who has an associate degree in computer-aided drafting from Pittsburgh Technical Institute, worked for 12 years as a production supervisor and project manager for Maronda Homes and Pella Windows and Doors before starting his own construction business. He is certified in commercial building inspection, commercial mechanical inspection, building plans examination and accessibility inspection and plan examination.

Ashley Chipps, who joined the staff in May as a code enforcement officer, is working toward receiving her certification in residential construction so she can do some of the building inspection work when her schedule allows.

Sarver is also requesting an additional code enforcement position for the office, which would free Chipps to take on the additional building inspection and plan review responsibilities.

“The whole purpose is for everyone in our office to be dual-trained,” Sarver says. “Ashley can do plan reviews on some of the smaller construction projects, such as decks and one-story additions, and give Josh more time to focus on more complicated commercial and multi-story home projects. The office will become more flexible, and that will help alleviate some of the backlog.”

The commission will make the final decision on authorizing the new position.