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Milwaukee altering building inspections as construction continues amid COVID-19

The city of Milwaukee’s Department of Neighborhood Services is altering its building-inspection procedures amid the city’s COVID-19 outbreak.

According to a notice the department sent this week, the DNS is responding to the pandemic by closing its offices to the public. Department officials said they plan to modify their operations to allow inspections to adhere to social-distancing requirements that are meant to slow the spread of the virus.

Yet although the DNS is closing its permit and development center, it will maintain a drop-off location for plans. Staff employee will then review building plans and issue permits. In some cases, the department also plans will make use of live video inspections and photos rather than on-site inspections. And in-person inspections will be done in a way meant to restrict contact with others.

“Our highest priority is safety.  That means full compliance with building codes and complete adherence to public health recommendations by our teams as well as our customers,” said DNS Commissioner Erica Lewandowski.  “We are in a challenging time, and, like everyone, we are adapting the way we do business.”

Construction is being generally allowed to continue in Milwaukee and throughout the state after the city and Gov. Tony Evers classified the industry on Tuesday as an essential service.

The state’s order deems a wide variety of construction work essential. In includes projects related to hospitals, long-term care centers, public works and housing; building management and maintenance; highways and the operation and maintenance of utilities.

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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