Under Construction Newsletter, Building Safety Month, May 2023

DPIE celebrates Building Safety Month, high rise and office buildings and house, Inspections Division Associate Director Behdad Kashanian

May 2023

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Message from the Acting Director

Each year, Building Safety Month spotlights safety in construction and building maintenance, two of the major responsibilities of DPIE. The goal of our Permitting and Licensing, Building Plan Review, Site/Road Plan Review, Inspections and Enforcement divisions is to make sure that structures in Prince George’s County are safe and sustainable. DPIE's duty is to ensure structures are constructed to codes established to protect those who will venture inside. We recognize our staff this month for their commitment and hard work. Building Safety Month pays homage to the nation’s building and construction professionals and those who work in the industries that support them. We are proud to be among the entities engaged in this very important work.

Be safe this month and all year long.

Acting Director Jared McCarthy
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Follow Us on Social Media!!!

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Social media and web icons

Visit DPIE's website at http://DPIE.mypgc.us.
Follow us on Twitter@PGCountyDPIE,
Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement - Facebook
and DPIE YouTube.
Subscribe to DPIE's newsletters and stay current with what's happening at MyPGC.

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Third-Thursday Community Information Session

Third Thursday slide, falling down house

DPIE hosts monthly virtual Third-Thursday Community Information Sessions to allow the public to interact directly with agency leadership and staff. Each session focuses on a particular topic and includes a brief presentation, comments by DPIE experts and a Q&A period.

Sessions take place from 11 a.m.–12 noon on the third Thursday of each month.

Participants may register in advance for the Third-Thursday Community Information Session.

Submit questions in advance to dpiepio@co.pg.md.us. We hope to see you at the next virtual meeting!

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DPIE Celebrates Building Safety Month

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Staff Spotlight: Inspections Division’s Behdad Kashanian Supervises Structure Detectives

Inspections Division Associate Director Behdad Kashanian, photos of out and about on the job

Inspections Division Associate Director Behdad Kashanian has been with the DPIE team since the agency’s inception in 2013.

Primary responsibility:

Kashanian supervises 70 plus employees who review structures in Prince George’s County for compliance with building safety codes and regulations.

Length of service with Prince George’s County: 

Kashanian has been a Prince George’s County employee since 1987. His first position was working as a project manager in the Highways and Bridges Division of the former Department of Public Works. In 1990, he switched to the Department of Environmental Resources (DER), the precursor to DPIE. He served as an associate director at DER until he was tapped to head Inspections at DPIE.


Kashanian holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s in structural and geotechnical engineering from the University of Maryland.

Division priorities:

Inspections checks structures for compliance related to building life safety, electrical, mechanical, energy, accessibility and all site/road development activities. Inspectors view and evaluate hundreds of projects weekly.

Work philosophy:

“Safety is at the heart of everything we do.”

For more information about the work of Kashanian’s team, construction codes and more, visit the Inspections Division section on the DPIE website.

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The International Code Council Shines a Light on Building Safety

Building Safety Month - Row 1 of safety gear and protocol

For the 43rd year, the International Code Council (ICC) is focusing attention on building and construction safety with this month’s Building Safety Month commemoration. The event also spotlights the professionals, private entities and public agencies, such as DPIE, that work to ensure building safety. We adhere closely to ICC codes in the County to make sure structures built here are safe and ecologically responsible.

According to the ICC website: “Building Safety Month is an international campaign that takes place in May to raise awareness about building safety. This campaign reinforces the need for the adoption of modern, regularly-updated building codes, and helps individuals, families and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures.

“The International Code Council, its members, and a diverse partnership of professionals from the building construction, design and safety communities come together with corporations, government agencies, professional associations and nonprofits to promote building safety through proclamations, informational events, legislative briefings and more…

“All communities need building codes to protect their citizens from disasters like fires, weather-related events and structural collapse. Building codes are society's best way of protecting homes, offices, schools, manufacturing facilities, stores and entertainment venues. Code officials work day in and day out to keep the public safe.”

Read more about Building Safety Month on ICC's website.

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DPIE Conducts Hundreds of Inspections Monthly

Building Inspectors Mike Metz and Moby and Team on various job sites performing safety inspections

DPIE inspectors conduct hundreds of investigations each month to ensure the safety of commercial and residential structures. Clockwise from top left, Code Enforcement Officer Mike Metz of the Inspections Division confers with a builder's representative at a Largo construction site. Inspectors Omobola Sokoya, Darrell Terry and Michael Young of the Inspections Division stop for a moment during a new home inspection in District Heights. Inspector Ron Waters of the Enforcement Division checks the HVAC with a maintenance staffer at a Landover senior citizens' apartment complex. Zoning Unit Inspector James Laws checks an HVAC system incorrectly placed on the ground behind a shopping center in Suitland.

white space thinEnforcement Inspectors on various job sites performing safety inspections

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PYP (Permit Your Project) to Ensure Its Safety

Building a retaining wall - construction worker laying concrete blocks with level

If you have plans to finish your basement, add a deck, install a retaining wall or extend your driveway, DPIE wants you to remember to PYP — Permit Your Project — before you begin construction.

DPIE’s PYP program was implemented as part of the agency’s education initiative to improve code compliance and help residents and business partners resolve safety and design issues in construction. PYP was launched during Building Safety Month in May 2019.

Home improvement work — including electrical, mechanical, plumbing and structural projects — requires permits. Popular do-it-yourself projects, such as kitchen and bathroom remodeling, must be permitted. Cosmetic changes to existing structures, such as renovating fireplace faces and removing walls to create a more open design, also require permits.

The permitting process ensures that projects will be built according to codes designed to guarantee they will be appropriate for the overall structure, durable and safe.

DPIE is making a concerted effort to reach out to residents and business partners about the permitting process and its importance in ensuring the safety of their projects. Going through the permitting process can help property owners avoid major expense, heartbreak and penalties and fines down the line.

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Permit Center Staff Credited for Excellent Customer Service

Dionne Williams (L) and Karyn Claxton received kudos from a customer

Congratulations to Permit Center staffers Dionne Williams (L) and Karyn Claxton who received kudos from a customer who called the Director’s Office recently to praise the excellent service they delivered assisting her with a kitchen renovation permit. The customer also praised Permit staffers Darlene Thompson and John Mackle (not pictured). We appreciate hearing feedback on our service from our customers!  

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Technology Update: Momentum at a Glance

Trade Permits - 4 photos representing Electrical, Mechanical, Building and Site Road Permits

Momentum has been live for more than three years processing applications for business licensing, rental licensing, health licensing and enforcement service requests. Currently, we have more than 29,530 users. We launched the permit and inspections phase of Momentum as noted below and, to date, we have processed more than 1,650 applications.

•  Trade Permits went live on Monday, April 24. To date, we have processed 512 trade applications and issued 425 permits.

•  Building Permits went live on Monday, May 1. Since then, we have processed 1,033 applications and issued 69 building alteration and addition permits.

•  Site/Road Permits went live on Monday, May 1. To date, we have processed 111 site/road applications and issued 14 flood plain approvals.

DPIE hosted five public training sessions for customers:

1) Electrical Permits Training — Wednesday, 5/3; more than 100 registered and 70 attended

2) Mechanical Permits Training — Thursday, 5/4; more than 70 registered and 40 attended

3) Building Permits Training — Friday, 5/5; more than 130 registered and 75 attended

4) Site/Road Permits Training — Tuesday, 5/9; more than 135 registered and 70 attended

5) Permit Expediter Training — Tuesday, 5/23; more than 194 registered and 100 attended

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Join the Business Development Section (BDS) for a Free Instructional Presentation Every Month of Summer!

Business Development Section presents a Summer Webinar Series, graphic of summer items, flipflops, sun, fruit, fronds

BDS is featuring the following webinars on the permitting and licensing process in Prince George’s County. Click on the following links to register:

• May 25, 10:00 a.m. ― How to Obtain a Special Event Permit

• June 22, 12:00 noon ― Building Permits, U&Os and Inspections for Commercial Businesses

• July 27, 12:00 noon ― DPIE Business Licenses

• August 31, 12:00 noon ― Introduction to the Business Development Section

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In Case You Missed It. . .

Third Thursday Community Session - All About Rental Licensing, opening slide of April 20 PowerPoint, graphic of house with "For Rent" sign

Our April 20 Third-Thursday Community Information Session spotlighted the agency's Rental Licensing processes. Access the entire PowerPoint presentation, entitled "All About Rental Licensing," by clicking the link or the above cover slide.

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DPIE in the Community: Dumpster Drop-Offs

Inspectors carry items for disposal from vehicles to the dumpster

DPIE staff participated in Growing Green with Pride Day on April 22 by working at the DPIE Beautify and Comply While Growing Green with Pride Dumpster Drop-Offs in Clinton and Beltsville. Thanks to the residents who brought unusable household items out to responsibly dispose of them. DPIE staff participate in dozens of community events each year.

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Inspector Attends Council Member's Town Hall to Assist Residents

Sofia at council member's town hall speaking with residents

Enforcement Inspector Sofia Orozco-Guzman answers questions about code enforcement recently at a town hall meeting held by Council Member Eric Olson. Visit the DPIE website for information on property maintenance and other property standards. 

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Name That Violation Contest!

Name that Violation banner for property standards code violation photo game

DPIE holds monthly contests to share information about the Prince George's County Code. The first person to respond with the correct answer will win one of DPIE's large (13"x10"x15") insulated grocery tote bags with a zipper closure, and your name in next month's Under Construction newsletter.*

*DPIE employees and their family members are not eligible to enter in this promotion.

For this month's contest, carefully study QUIZ PHOTO # 4 below and "Name that Violation" by emailing your best guess to DPIEPIO@co.pg.md.us.

Name that Violation game contest - photo 4

DPIE Congratulates
Two Winners

Deborah Curtis and Jay Endelman

for correctly identifying the violation in photo number 3 (shown at right), and/or other code violations like the exposed wires on the right side of the photo,
in last month's issue of Under Construction.

The answer is shown in the image below.
(DPIE added the ordinance from County Code.)

Name that violation photo with multiple violations including the broken gate, exposed wires, etc
Answer to Name that Violation - fence in disrepair, exposed wires, etc

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DPIE Celebrates Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

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DPIE Honors Those Who Have Served in the U.S. Armed Forces

Monday, May 29, 2023

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