By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
It’s been a decade since the burst of the nation’s housing bubble. During that time, the construction industry has been slowly building its way back.
That growth is being seen in this year’s numbers at the Wood County Building Inspection Office.
Mike Rudey, chief building official in the office, reported to the Wood County Commissioners last week that his office is struggling to keep up with the construction.
“We’re busy. We are very busy,” Rudey said.
Last year, the county saw 240 new single-family homes constructed. This year, the number inched up to 250, he said.
“Everything is definitely peaking over last year,” Rudey told the commissioners.
The Wood County Building Inspection Office covers the largest geographic jurisdiction of all building departments in Ohio, covering Wood, Hancock and Henry counties for all commercial construction, as well as Wood County for residential construction.
The building inspection office is charged with protecting the health, safety and welfare of citizens by ensuring all construction meets requirements set forth by specific building codes. This includes residential and commercial buildings – covering new construction, additions to existing structures and remodeling.
In his newsletter, Rudey reported that a variety of large commercial projects were submitted for building inspection review this year. The cities of Findlay and Perrysburg took the lead again this year in permit revenue activity.
“The residential housing market has also been positive this year with single family homes exceeding last year’s numbers,” Rudey stated in his newsletter. “I am anticipating the new construction market for 2018 will be very positive for our area based on this year’s activity.”
The numbers in the last couple years tell a story of slow and steady growth. In the “State of the County” address given earlier this year, Commissioner Craig LaHote reported the number of building permits issued in 2016 was 5,375, which was 533 more than the previous year.
“This reflects continued growth in the region,” LaHote said. “Staff used technology in order to increase proficiency in plan submittals, reviews and inspections in the field.”
This fall, Rudey notified the commissioners that the numbers for single family dwellings, additions and permits are all on the rise for this year. Most of the single-family home growth in the county is being seen in the Perrysburg area.
Last week, Rudey talked about the multiple hotels and apartment complexes being built in Wood County this year. Ground will be broken soon in Bowling Green for the new Home 2 Suites hotel, and three or four hotels are being added in the Perrysburg area, he said.
“This is what we do,” Rudey said, explaining that being busy is good for the county. “It’s exciting for me.”
And the permit revenue is good for his office. Last year’s revenue at this time was $1.4 million.
“We’re still creeping ahead of last year,” he said.
And by the end of this month, the permit revenue may surpass the record year of 2005, which hit about $1.6 million.
“We will exceed that revenue,” Rudey predicted. “It’s nice to be able to work with a flush budget.”
In his building inspection newsletter, Rudey reported that he is working with a permit software provider to complete online plan submittals, permitting and inspection scheduling for 2018. The online process is expected to be available in January. Only registered contractors will have a password to access the system portal for these features.
In the winter newsletter, Rudey reported the office has a staff of 12 people, including the chief building inspector, master plans examiner, residential plans examiner, three administrative and clerical personnel and seven building inspectors (structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing) – with two of the seven being part-time.