The Department for the Inspection of Buildings was established in 1909 by Bylaw 207. Prior to this the City employed a Building and Fire Inspector and a Plumbing Inspector, but they did not operate independently, and were likely part of the Engineer’s Department.
The Department for the Inspection of Buildings was responsible for the enforcement of building codes; providing building permits; the survey and inspection of buildings, scaffolding, and building sites; recording complaints made to the office; and the protection of buildings against fires and accident.
When it was established in 1909 the Department for the Inspection of Buildings was led the Inspector of Buildings. This position led the department until 1926, when building inspector Norman A. McIvor died while in office and was replaced by John Martland. Martland had been employed as the architect with the Engineer’s Department. In accepting the new position he was expected to continue his previous duties as well as fulfill those of the building inspector. It was at this time that the department became the Architect’s and Building Inspector’s Department, and the head became the City Architect and Building Inspector.
As of 1931, this department was responsible for providing plumbing permits, gas permits, moving permits, curb pump permits, and sign permits in addition to building permits. The department was also responsible for janitorial work at City buildings, and operation of the elevator at Civic Block.
By the 1950s the department’s responsibilities had grown. In 1952 the mandate of the Architect’s and Building Inspector’s Department was to provide architectural services for City buildings, approve building plans and issue permits, issue overhead sign permits, conduct inspections on construction to ensure City building code was being followed, conduct exams for trades certificates (but not for electricians), make recommendations concerning construction bylaws, the maintenance of civic buildings (except utilities and engineering departments) and provide mail service to City offices.
In 1957 the department took over responsibility for construction of all new City buildings. The department also worked with the Architectural Panel (established in 1950) to approve the construction of certain buildings.
By 1959 the internal structure had been simplified to only four sections: Accounting; Building Maintenance (which included a mail and security section); the Assistant City Architect; and an Inspection Division for building plans, construction, plumbing and heating.
By 1965, the department was headed by the City Architect and divided into three divisions: Architectural Design, Building Inspection, and Building Maintenance. The Architectural Design Division provided architectural services and advice to civic departments on construction projects. The Building Inspection Division inspected and controlled the construction of buildings and structures erected within city limits. The Building Maintenance Division provided and maintained working facilities for City staff in various City-owned buildings. This division also supervised janitorial staff, maintenance and carried out building alterations.
The Architect’s and Building Inspector’s Department was dissolved in 1970. The successors to the Architect’s and Building Inspector’s Department were the Planning Department (Building Inspection Branch) and the Property and Building Management Department (Architecture Branch, Maintenance, and Edmonton Community Housing Organization).