Norristown Code Enforcement Program Becomes 1st Nationally
Accredited Program in Pennsylvania and 2nd In The Country
The Municipality of Norristown is proud to announce that its Department of Buildings & Code Enforcement has attained Accreditation from the American Association of Code Enforcement (AACE) for its Code Enforcement Program!
The Municipality of Norristown is the first in Pennsylvania and the second in the country to receive this distinguished recognition, the City of Plano Texas being the first.
This is the first nationally recognized accreditation program solely for code enforcement agencies. The Accreditation Standards were developed by AACE to ensure agencies responsible for enforcement of codes, ordinances, regulations, and laws relating to public health, safety, and welfare met national standards. These standards are intended to ensure a uniform level of service and level of professionalism with all accredited code agencies, thereby increasing community’s confidence in the policies and practices of an agency and the overall code enforcement profession.- Kelvin Beene, President of the American Association of Code Enforcement.
To obtain this accreditation, code enforcement departments must successfully complete & submit an accreditation application packet which is reviewed by the AACE Accreditation Committee. The accreditation application packet includes the application itself along with providing information and supporting documents requested for review to confirm that the department meets the 59 accreditation standards. The accreditation standards review how a department operates and evaluate policies and procedures for functions such as general operations, personnel, case processing, punitive actions, inspections, codes & ordinances, and hearings & appeals. The accreditation is valid for 5 years, as long as the annual reports are submitted as required and the department remains in compliance with all program requirements.
The Norristown Code Enforcement Staff should be proud that they are among the first agencies in the country to demonstrate they are operating at a high level and setting standards for others to follow. In addition, this accreditation provides verification to the stakeholders of Norristown that their Code Enforcement Program is in compliance with established standards and practices.- Kelvin Beene
"Accredited Code Enforcement Departments can operate in confidence that their operations have been reviewed by formal third party, and have demonstrated that they are competent. The standards have been developed to apply to both large and small departments and to keep costs affordable for all enforcement agencies. The Norristown Department of Buildings & Code Enforcement have a clear and straight forward mission and vision with the necessary policies and procedures to ensure operations are carried out competently. They demonstrated that they recognize their customers and they are committed to providing quality customer service. They provided evidence of their agency’s commitment to excellence in leadership, resource management, and service-delivery." - Kelvin Beene
“This achievement of earning Accreditation for our Code Enforcement Program is a direct result of the combined dedication, hard work, and support from my team and from Municipal Administrator Crandall Jones and Municipal Council. This past year we have significantly updated and improved our internal policies and procedures. We created a Department mission, vision, value, goals, and customer service statement supporting Municipal Administrator Jones and Municipal Councils vision and goals for Norristown. When I was appointed to this position by Municipal Administrator Jones and joined the Norristown team exactly almost a year ago, I completed a comprehensive review and assessment of all phases of the operations, and developed a strategic plan for how we can make the necessary adjustments in our processes to enforce Municipal & State Laws in a consistent, uniform, and fair manner and be more efficient, productive, and customer service orientated.” said Amrinder Singh, Code Enforcement Manager & Building Code Official for Norristown.
“Through this accreditation assessment, the Norristown Buildings & Code Enforcement Department has demonstrated that it has implemented best practices for code administration and enforcement, and the department meets nationally recognized standards. We are working diligently every day to protect the biggest investments of people’s lives, their properties. By enforcing building, housing, property maintenance, and other Municipal &State codes, we make Norristown’s properties where we live, work, play, and learn safer.” said Singh.
“My team is very excited,” Singh said about the achievement. “To get here today, the entire process required many steps to complete, including a culture change for the department and lots of team work. It took everyone on the team to make it happen. I wanted our community to know that I do care and know my team cares and that every day we strive to be an accountable, transparent, and results driven department, which is why for the first time in the department’s history we created and presented to Municipal Administration & Municipal Council earlier this year a detailed Annual Report on our 2018 operations. The report is almost a 100 pages and reviews data and operations from the past 5 years and shows our progress in 2018 and what our plans are for 2019, 2020, and beyond.” Singh said.
RECENT DEPARTMENT ACHIEVEMENTS:
- The appointment of Amrinder Singh to Code Enforcement Manager & Building Code Official in June 2018.
- Created a Department mission, vision, value, goals, and customer service statement supporting Councils goals.
- Completed a comprehensive review and assessment of all phases of the operations.
- Created written standard operating procedures, policies, and guidelines.
- Significantly updated and improved internal policies and procedures.
- Significantly increased staff efficiency and productivity.
- Developed a strategic plan to make necessary adjustments in processes to enforce Municipal & State Laws in a consistent, uniform, and fair manner and be more efficient, productive, and customer service orientated.
- Presented an Annual Report, the first time in the department’s history, to Municipal Council.
“I look forward to continuing to improve and develop our department by continuing to invest in staff training and development,learning and implementing the latest industry best practices and techniques for compliance, and working hard every day to help eliminate blight, increasing the quality of life, and help maintain and increase property values.” said Singh.
The Norristown Department of Buildings & Code Enforcement Staff
Top Row: John Mateja, Samuel Rodriguez, Keith Gordon, Aaron Stasiw, Amrinder Singh Bottom Row: Lynn Bixler, Marquetia Bufkin, Debbie VanAllen, Iyeesha Castellanos, Asa Watts
“We are very proud of the Code Enforcement Department Staff, under the direction of Amrinder Singh, they have worked diligently over the last year to get to this point.” Stated Sonya Sanders, Council President., “They set out a new path for the Norristown Department of Buildings& Code Enforcement centered on integrity, knowledge, and professionalism. This accreditation solidifies their efforts and hard work.”
FUTURE DEPARTMENT GOALS:
- To become an accredited building department by the International Accreditation Service. Later this year we will be completing the application and providing supporting documents & going through the IAS Accreditation process for Building Departments. We hope to join the elite group of Building Departments across America & Canada who have completed a rigorous assessment of its Building Departments Administrative, Plan Review, Permitting, Inspection, and Enforcement Operations and demonstrate that they meet international standards. There are currently only 25 jurisdictions with Accredited Building Departments across North America including one right here in Pennsylvania, and by this time next year I hope Norristown will earn the IAS Accreditation and be added to that elite list. This will help further showcase to our stakeholders such as property owners, developers, investors, business owners, contractors, and residents that the Department of Buildings & Code Enforcement has implemented recognized international standards and practices which make it easier for stakeholders to conduct business and that we are serious about timeliness, quality assurance, and customer service. Dealing with an IAS Accredited Building Department will give our stakeholders a peace of mind and an advantage of interacting with a fully accredited building department since all activities and operations are subject to established and posted timelines and know they will receive the highest level of customer service. It will also help eliminate the perception of red-tape and signal that we are here to help facilitate development and growth. The IAS Building Department Accreditation will also help with the Municipalities Insurances Services Office (ISO) rating and possibly help support and increase our rating which in turn will help reduce property insurance premiums for those who own property in Norristown.
- Updating our Municipalities outdated codes and ordinances that the department enforces for compliance. We have completed a comprehensive code and ordinance review and recognized that some of our ordinances and codes are outdated and need to be updated. There are many inconsistencies, loopholes, and just codes from 2-3 decades ago that don’t reflect and support Councils vision and mission so by making the necessary improvements the department will be able to further support the Municipalities Consolidated & Comprehensive plans and which will also help eliminate blight, increase the quality of life, and help maintain & increase property values. A few of the ordinances and codes that have been identified for updating and the need to implement new ordinances and codes are the registration of vacant properties, creating a comprehensive rental housing registration and inspection program, quality of life instant ticketing program, and the creating of the Norristown Building Safety, Property Maintenance, and Housing Code which will be a single source document for stakeholders so they know exactly what is required of them instead of having to know different standalone ordinances.
- Implementing an online 24/7 eGovernment and Customer Service Portal. This portal will allow online filing & submission of permits, licensing, rental registrations, and property transfers. Online appointment & inspection scheduling, online payments for all department fees, a property owner and business portal where property owners and contractors will be able to file, obtain, pay, review, and schedule transactions that they must currently do over the counter and/or phone.
Amrinder Singh, CCEA, MCP, CBO
Code Enforcement Manager & Building Code Official
Accreditation Certificate Presentation by Municipal Council & Administrator at the July 2, 2019 Council Meeting