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Better inspection leads to savings for homeowners

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Updated: 9/25/2013 6:48 am
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Owners of new property in St. Johns County could benefit from an effort by building inspectors to improve their procedures.

The county is one of the fastest growing in the state and Communications Manager Michael Ryan said that growth has the county's 32-person building code enforcement team running.

"The codes are statewide so really what it comes down to is how your county and how your professional staff enforces them."

Over the past five years, St. Johns County inspectors have ramped up. Now, their increased visits to construction sites and strict enforcement have resulted in the best building code effectiveness grade in the county's history according to the company ISO.

St. Johns County now leads the area on the ISO BCEGS measurement of building inspector offices in each county. St. Johns gets a three ranking for new residential properties, while Clay and Duval have been graded a four. A lower numerical grade is a higher mark in this system.

While there are no guarantees, Ryan says the better ranking your county has, the more home insurance customers could save. Better grades mean safer structures during catastrophes.

"There's a potential savings in insurance for residents and businesses as a whole."

Action News checked in with Brightway Insurance Agent Joe Carlucci, who quoted us a rate for a new home. He found the cost hardly changed, but said that doesn't surprise him.

"The BECG codes are really just one small part of a giant equation that is figuring out these rates," said Carlucci.

But Carlucci said the improved rating is still good news for St. Johns, because as more people look to relocate to Northeast Florida, they may consider the grade when they decide to buy or build a new home.

"We are very fortunate in receiving lots of recognitions as a county," said Ryan. "The great thing about this one is it's specific to our staff and the professionalism of our license, code enforcement and building inspectors. It truly comes down to the safety of our residents and businesses."

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