Inspector's Gadget Increases Efficiency for City Building Inspectors

By Jessica Rivchin — October 04, 2006

 
Inspectors

Who: City of Jacksonville, Florida, Building Inspection Division

What: The city of Jacksonville, Fla., is experiencing a significant rise in newly constructed and remodeled homes. In fact, the city has seen a nearly 36 percent increase in the number of construction permits requested for single-family dwellings between 2002 and 2005. In response, the city's Building Inspections Division expanded the number of its construction trades inspectors--workers who perform construction site inspections (ideally within 24 hours of the time requested). Funded entirely from revenue generated by permit and service fees, the division employs 135 workers, including 65 construction trades inspectors.

On top of increased demand, the division faced the logistical challenge of servicing a jurisdiction that covers nearly 840 square miles. Despite the city's best efforts, demand for the services of the inspectors continued to outpace available staff time. The division needed a mobile solution to maximize inspector productivity and efficiency and improve its level of service to residents and clients while lowering costs.

Solution: The city selected Xora's GPS TimeTrack, a mobile-workforce-management technology tool, to use on GPS and Java-enabled mobile phones. Mobile workers can use the application to record timesheet and job-status information, and office staff has access to Web-based maps and reports supplied by Xora that show the location and actions of field personnel throughout the day. The Xora solution was cost-effective, at less than $12 per month per worker and zero hardware or software installation at the user's site.

Results: Within 30 days of the August 2005 rollout, construction trades inspectors were able to spend more time in the field and perform more and higher-quality inspections. After one year, Jacksonville reaped a savings of $38,300 per inspector--and gained the capacity to perform an additional 22,500 inspections per year. With 62 active construction trades inspectors in the field, the rollout saved the city approximately six years of work hours over a 12-month period--a savings valued at $264,000 (as compared to an annual Xora expense of $34,200).

In addition, building inspectors were now able to report to work in the field instead of fighting city traffic, saving approximately one hour of office and travel time per day.

"Our expectation is that Xora will help the city to improve all aspects of its inspection services program," said C.L. Googe, administrative assistant principal for the Building Inspection Division. "For us, proper implementation of the system is key to its success. I cannot overemphasize the importance of planning and communicating the value of the Xora solution to employees, and developing policies and procedures that map to the program's goals. In a very short period of time, we have seen and been able to quantify the value of the Xora solution, and I look forward to its continued and expanded use throughout the division."

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