Archive for November, 2011

Threats to code enforcement inspectors

November 17th, 2011 4 comments

I was recently contacted by a student doing a study about how code enforcement officers handle interactions with anti-government extremists. I’m fortunate that I haven’t encountered this type of threat very often but I promised her I would reach out to my readers to see if anyone has had to deal with this sort of problem. How have you handled it?

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Healthy homes conference Part 6

November 4th, 2011 No comments

At the Springfield conference, my topic was effective code enforcement programs. After hearing about all of the substantive issues involving healthy homes, it was really a privilege to be able to speak about how to accomplish our mutual goals.  There was a lot of frustration over the problems we are facing because budgets are being slashed, programs cancelled and properties are getting worse because of the foreclosure mess.  Despite this, it was important to find out that there are a lot of committed professionals who are forming partnerships to address these issues.  And, there are steps inspectors can take that don’t cost much money to implement, for example, making sure that renovators are certified in lead paint removal before issuing a building permit.  Who knows how many health problems children are spared because of this simple procedure? The training in Springfield was offered free of cost as were many of the publications.  I hope my readers will make use of the links I have created to find these organizations. I want to thank Eleanor Davis from the IDPH, Lead Paint Program, for inviting me to speak at the conference and giving me the opportunity to meet the other speakers.  I hope it will lead to even better enforcement opportunities.

Healthy homes conference Part 5

November 2nd, 2011 No comments

One of the most interesting speakers at the Springfield conference was Dr. Catherine Karr, who is a pediatric environmental health specialist.  She reviewed a wide variety of home health hazards including lead paint, radon, mold, carbon monoxide, fire, and pests.  So many of these topics intersect with property maintenance and fire prevention enforcement.  She is a member of a group called PEHSU (Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units) which is a national network of academic-based centers of expertise that service health care providers, public health professionals, communities and families.  Asthma, for example, is a huge health problem for children and adults and is made worse by living in homes that have mold problems and pest infestation.  Illinois is included in the Great Lakes Centers’ Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit based at the University of Illinois at Chicago. All areas of the country are part of some regional unit. PEHSU is a great resource for information on all of these issues. When inspectors are dealing with a property where children live, the long term effects of the unhealthy conditions should be a top priority for enforcement.

Healthy homes conference Part 4

November 1st, 2011 No comments

Julie Morris from the EPA addressed the Springfield conference on “Lead-Based Paint, Renovation, Repair and Painting”.  She discussed the various rules and exclusions involved in renovating buildings that may have lead paint problems.  She encouraged people to let her know when someone violates these rules.  EPA receives complaints from a variety of sources, especially certified renovators who see illegal work being done by other companies.  There are a variety of resources available at including some new publications on compliance and a new training guide on renovation. She mentioned that in Minnesota all building permits must be checked for RPP certification.

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