FRONTENAC — “Frontenac is the wild wild west,” said one local contractor in regards to doing work in the town.
While Frontenac has always required building permits, previously none of the work completed in the town required inspections.
That all changed in June when the city moved to requiring inspections.
“This has become a real safety issue and we simply could no longer ignore the problem,” Frontenac Mayor Linda Grilz said.
Grilz said an incident with the fire department really hammered it home for her that inspections had to be required. She said a rental home had caught fire because of bad electrical work. The owner had modified the home adding walls, making the situation dangerous for firefighters.
Grilz also said this is not just a problem with old homes in the city, but also brand new ones where contactors have cut corners knowing that no one would be inspecting their work.
According to a release provided by Grilz, the city has contacted with two companies, both of which have local representation to help with inspections after work is done. The City of Frontenac has also reached out to local companies to let them know inspections are now required.
“This spring we interviewed several individuals and companies and decided on two engineering firms to provide contract inspection services for us,” Grilz said. “City staff has visited with the trade groups to inform them of this new procedure and began requiring inspection services on any new building project in the city.”
Grilz said the city has received some concerns from citizens about what needs to be inspected and what doesn’t, as well as about the cost of the inspections. She also said the city does not receive the funds from the inspection fees, because it goes straight to the inspectors. She said the cost of inspections is something the city is keeping a close eye on.
“This is not a program that is unmovable,” Grilz said “We are be working through this process with resident’s help. We absolutely need and welcome their feedback.”
Grilz said she insisted that residents in Frontenac that have trouble with the new program should come and speak to the city.
“We want to be safe most of all, but we also want to be fair,” said Grilz. “If a resident has a question about what needs inspected or is concerned about the cost of an inspection I really hope they reach out to us.
“We’re going to do this the right way, but we’re also going to do this the fair way.”