August 28, 2011 castlebri

Mayor Coleman & Ward Council Members,

I am a business owner in St. Paul and we are being forced to lay off our workers and leave our clients without working bathrooms while we wait for electrical inspections.  We are running into major delays with scheduling electrical inspections in St. Paul and this is causing our projects to screech to a stop while we wait two plus weeks for electric inspections.  Last Wednesday after several days of calling, our electrician finally reached some one and was able to schedule several inspections for September 9th.  Electrical inspections are booked out about 2.5-3 weeks and building inspections are booked out over a week currently and this time frame is very difficult to work with especially on small projects like bathroom remodeling projects.  On small projects we only have one work of week before needing our first building and electrical inspections.  Every other municipality can normally schedule inspections with 24-48 hours advanced notice.  

As one the largest design/build remodelers in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and currently are in the process of remodeling approximately 10 homes in St. Paul and have quite a few more in the design process that are scheduled to start building soon.  Because of these delays on several projects we are going to be forced to lay off our workers and send them home until the 9th and will miss our guaranteed completion dates which will cost Castle $40 per day per project.  Some of our clients only have one bathroom and depend on Castle to quickly remodel their bathrooms so their life can get back to normal. 

Please help.  I would strongly encourage hiring more electrical inspectors, authorizing overtime, reallocating inspectors, or hiring outside support from the state temporarily to help alleviate the backlog of inspections scheduled.  Alternatively in the past we have been allowed to take photographs of our work and email it to inspectors for approval.  Minneapolis charges twice as much for permits and I would gladly pay more for a permit if we could get better quicker service. The remodeling market is regaining strength and we need your support to help us continue to perform efficiently and gain momentum.   

PS –  I would like to do what I can to help and would consider joining the Business Advisory Committee if I am eligible. 

Loren Schirber

 Owner/Business Manager

362 Snelling Ave. S

St. Paul, MN 55105