Do the Math

City inspections:

  • # units / # of years between inspection = inspections per year.
  • Inspections per year/ annual inspections per inspector = # of inspectors
  • # of inspectors * salary + operation costs (lead tests,ipads, software, GIS mapping system) = program cost
  • Program cost/ # units = cost per unit fees

Calculate program costs based on alternatives.

  • How much would it cost for the city to do the inspection v. having the owners hire third party inspectors and the city audits the program?
  • If a program inspects all housing every two years, how many inspectors are needed (either as city employees or in the private market) based on how long inspections take and how large the rental market is?
  • What’s the cost difference between risk assessment, XRF, dust wipe clearance, paint chip or soil testing?

Watch for timing issues that may subject tenants to lead hazards

  • If lead is found and interim measures are allowed to temporarily address the lead issue, how long are those measures anticipated to last?  
  • If the interim measures only last a year but inspection only happens every three years, you are subjecting those tenants to lead hazards for two years.


Below is an example of how a city can estimate its staffing need.  This analysis comes from “Technical Assistance for Code Transformation and Innovation Collaborative (the TACTIC Project) – Final Report for the City of Battle Creek, Michigan prepared by the National Center for Healthy Housing.

Staffing needs can be estimated as follows, assuming a three‐year inspection cycle under two
scenarios (the first presented below assumes that the lead component of the inspection would
be a standalone activity, and the second assumes that the lead component would be integrated
into the code inspection process):

1,548 rental units with young children/3‐year inspection cycle = 516 rental units/year
516 rental units/year x 1 hour/rental unit = 516 person‐hours/year.

If we assume that there are a total of 2,080 total hours per inspector per year available, it is
reasonable to assume that about 40% of that time will need to be devoted to travel to housing
units to be inspected, report preparation, training, and follow‐up interaction with owners, and
in some cases interaction and testimony before administrative judges or others in cases of

40% x 516 person‐hours/year = 206 hours/year administrative.

Thus, total personnel need could be as follows:
516 person‐hours/year for inspections + 206 person‐hours/year for travel and other
administrative duties = about 722 person‐hours/year

In short, this would appear to mean that no more than one additional staff would need to be