Program: Code enforcement                        

 

Appropriation:

All from Special Revenue Funds:

$7,902,000

 

Total:

$7,902,000 [16]

Program Description:

This appropriation funds code enforcement.  This provides support for each of the five divisions within the Bureau of Construction Codes.  These divisions are the Plan Review Division, the Electrical Division, the Mechanical Division, the Plumbing Division, and the Barrier-Free Design Program, each of which fulfill different responsibilities. [17]  The program funds state inspections of buildings and other trade-related work, and issues permits as evidence that work (new plumbing and wiring, for instance) meets established construction codes. 

Recommended Action:

The majority of positions funded by this line item can be outsourced to private, for-profit businesses.  While the state may wish to maintain employees for contract management, to act as final arbiters on matters of code interpretation, and to oversee the licensing of new professionals in the building trades, actual inspections may be carried out by private inspectors under contract with the state.  The state is already familiar with outsourcing for this type of work since it appropriates more than $1 million annually for “code enforcement flexibility,” which provides the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services with funds to hire outside contractors to help meet additional inspection needs of the department. 

The 52 inspectors employed by the state to make building, mechanical, electrical and plumbing inspections cost $3,435,172 in salary and benefits.  Shaving 20 percent off the total cost of this program by outsourcing to the private sector could save the state $1,580,400.  And this doesn’t include savings from not having to purchase equipment and other office supplies for state inspectors.  Twenty percent savings is not uncommon for such services.  Savings: $1,580,400.

Program: Boiler inspection program                               

 

Appropriation:

All from Special Revenue Funds:

$2,201,800

 

Total:

$2,201,800 [18]

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the Boiler Inspection Program.  The Board of Boiler Rules runs this program.  The Board is comprised of 11 members and performs the following duties: prescribes rules for boilers; provides for the licensing of boiler inspectors, installers, and repairers; sets fees for licenses, permits, inspections, and certificates; provides penalties for the violation of codes, rules, and standards.

Recommended Action:

The Boiler Inspection Program should be eliminated.  According to a Department of Consumer and Industry Services, 45 percent of Michigan’s more than 73,000 registered boilers [19] already are inspected privately by insurance companies.  The state currently inspects uninsured boilers, while insurance companies inspect insured boilers.  This policy should change, with boiler owners assuming full responsibility for insuring and inspecting their boilers without state intervention.  Savings: $2,201,800. 

Program: Elevator inspection program                               

 

Appropriation:

All from Special Revenue Funds:

$2,287,000

 

Total:

$2,287,000 [20]

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the Elevator Inspection Program.  This program is designed to ensure safe operation and installation of Michigan’s escalators, wheelchair lifts, lifting and lowering devices, dumbwaiters, and passenger elevators, and was established to prevent casualties and injuries due to mechanical failure or human error.  The elevator inspection program also licenses elevator contractors.

Recommended Action:

Like boiler inspections, this program should no longer be a state function.  The owners of buildings and their insurers have a compelling financial interest in making certain elevators are in safe working order.  Savings: $2,287,000.

Program: Local manufactured housing communities inspections


Appropriation:

All from Special Revenue Funds:

$250,000

 

Total:

$250,000 [21]

Program Description:

This appropriation funds local manufactured housing communities inspections.  This program provides financial assistance to local units of government that conduct manufactured home park inspections.   Public Act 419 of 1976 mandates such inspections. 

Recommended Action:

This task is best shouldered by local units of government if at all.  Public Act 419 of 1976 could be amended to end the state mandate for such inspections.  There is arguably no need for government intervention between consumers and producers of manufactured homes and parks.  The consumer is capable of determining whether or not he will engage in a transaction with the provider of the good.  If, after purchasing the good, he believes he has been defrauded, then he can take legal action against the seller of that good.  Preventive action by the state in the form of regulation only raises the costs (barriers) for people to obtain the goods they want.  Savings: $250,000.

Program: Manufactured housing and land resources program         

 

Appropriation:

Special Revenue Funds:

$2,625,000

 

GF/GP:

$10,000

 

Total:

$2,635,000 [22]

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the manufactured housing and land resources program.  This program licenses manufactured home industry participants, from parks themselves to brokers, lessors, and manufactured home “installment repairers.” [23]

Recommended Action:

Eliminate this program for the same reasons identified under the “Local manufactured housing communities inspections” line item.  Savings: $2,635,000.