Improvements Coming to Boston Fire Inspection Process
Under the leadership of Boston Fire Department
Commissioner Jack Dempsey, Fire Marshall Joseph Shea and his team at the Boston Fire Department, BFD is poised to introduce new technology to alleviate many of the pain points for REALTORS® in the smoke and co detector inspection process. The team at BFD has secured funding for the project and is working with the City of Boston’s Chief Information Officer to implement the new system. BFD has been researching technology in other jurisdictions including the City of Quincy
, which is very similar to the new portal in Boston. It is hoped that the new system will be fully operational by January of 2022.
GBREB continues to have dialogue with the BFD regarding changes members would like to see incorporated including accepting new forms of payment. Currently BFD is required by the City of Boston to only accept bank checks and money orders which they hope to address by allowing credit cards.
In addition to the new portal, BFD has worked to retrain staff on customer service including responding to emails and messages with questions on inspections. After hearing from several members that closing attorneys were rejecting inspection certificates without unit numbers, GBREB also raised the issue with BFD. BFD promptly responded by investigating the issue and found that when the addressing system does not have a unit set up by the city it is the accepted business policy to list the unit number in the comments section. Training was also conducted with BFD staff on the issue of unit numbers. On September 1, BFD also decreased the wait time for inspections by going back to its morning and afternoon hours.
As a reminder the Boston Fire Department allows for a smoke certificate to be good for 90 days, unlike the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which only allows for 60 days. REALTORS are encouraged to apply for an inspection as soon as the property is listed. This will allow for plenty of time to get the inspection done and allow for corrective action when the home does not pass. According to BFD an average of 275 inspections are conducted each week. At this time all inspection requests are now easily accommodated.