City engineer keeps growth orderly

(Second in a series)

Orderly growth of a city does not just happen.

A set of general plans with zoning, a set of building codes, adequate streets, a water and sewage system and water for fire fighting require planning and regulation.

City Engineer Pete Johnson oversees a staff of 17 employees who have the responsibility of keeping Kingman's growth orderly and following the codes and regulations.

Johnson said his department is responsible for the design of the city water, sewer and street projects and the review and approval of private development involving water, sewer and street plans.

The staff also inspects all private and public construction and enforces the building codes.

The city's Cadastral Survey base, the benchmark surveyors use determine property lines - and mapping that comes from the base - is a city engineering task.

Johnson's department is responsible for the development and administration of improvement districts formed to improve streets and sewer service in residential areas.

Private construction and public work other than City of Kingman projects are handled under George J.

Lutz, Jr., city building official.

Lutz has worked for the city 12 years following a career in the construction trades.

He brings three degrees and ten certifications in construction areas to the job.

"This has to be a career, not a job," Lutz said.

"I am fortunate to have two building inspectors, Jim McErlean and David Lash, who see this as a career, too."

McErlean is a certified plan checker who is also certified in mechanical, plumbing and building codes.

Lash has two plumbing certifications, building codes and mechanical.

They are tested extensively every three years in each area to maintain their certification.

The first step toward a building permit is submitting plans that are checked by the staff.

"Most people call us and we work with them even before plans are submitted, McErlean said.

"Communication with the client is the key to our work,"

Lutz said the department has information to help people understand the requirements.

After plans are checked and permits issued, the staff makes regular inspections to see that construction meets the codes.

"The usual first inspection on a house is the under-slab plumbing," he said.

When construction is completed, either McErlean or Lash make a final inspection and an occupancy permit is issued

The department is responsible for building codes for remodels and existing buildings in addition to new construction.

Most inspections are done by complaint, sometimes from fire department inspections where code violations are suspected.

Drainage inspections are also part of Lutz department responsibility.

If the project is designed and built my the city, including streets, water and sewer, the inspection responsibility goes to Ivan Stevens' public works inspection department where John Fessenden and Dale Zanni are the inspectors.

They watch the installation of water lines and sewer connections, check subdivisions, inspect drainage and anything built in a city right-of-way.

Stevens' staff inspects any street, utility and improvement district work.

They work closely with the Public Works Department where maintenance of water, sewer and streets is done.

Wednesday: Mapping, surveying and street design and construction .