Office Review Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety

Starting Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety off with a 2/5 rating based on Yelp reviews (https://www.yelp.com/biz/city-of-los-angeles-department-of-building-and-safety-los-angeles).

Based on the reviews, the LADBS appears to be operating poorly due to unresponsiveness of staff and generally subpar customer service. You wouldn't generally think of Yelp as something that's used for government agencies, but some people do appear to be turning to Yelp (or Google reviews) to express their frustrations and satisfaction with government services.
 
That's kind of hilarious that someone turned to Yelp!

The more I think about it, it could have been one of two things. It could have been someone who was disgruntled by the process or even a worker there that they had difficulties dealing with. It reminds me of people who go around letting everyone know their dissatisfaction with a company on the internet.

The other thing brought to mind is that it could be that someone was so used to using Yelp for other things, so why not use it for Building and Safety as well? Kudos to them for getting this trend started!
 
The other thing brought to mind is that it could be that someone was so used to using Yelp for other things, so why not use it for Building and Safety as well? Kudos to them for getting this trend started!

Yes, exactly. Yelp is most typically used by customers to review service industry businesses, like restaurants and the like, but unsurprisingly some users are turning to the platform to report their experience with government services as well. Quite a few permitting offices are getting reviewed on Yelp, Google, and even Facebook actually. As one example, Greensboro, NC's Building Department is rated only one out of five stars on Google out of six total reviews. Although citizens can't readily vote for change or organize a petition down at city hall, at least technology has made it super convenient to get on one's smartphone and lodge complaints via social media rating platforms - there's definitely something positive and democratic about that.
 
Well, my conclusion to this is going to be that the said reviewer probably didn't know exactly where should be the best platform to give his or her reviews about the experience he/she had with the process because if they knew, Yelp would be the last option the individual would use for such purposes. Unfortunately, Yelp won't take down any kind review dropped on their platform, it's more of a win for them.
 
It's odd that my local DMV has the same rating as the LA Department of Building and Safety on Yelp. Perhaps there will be changes in the future as more and more people share their feedback and experiences on Yelp. I know places like these can be stressful for employees, and that could be why the service isn't that great.
 
I just came across this news from earlier this year about corruption at the LADBS. A former whistleblower alleges he was marginalized within the department for speaking out about leadership "misappropriating city funds, using their positions to attempt to benefit their friends, and covering up fraud and misappropriation." There's a lot of negative online commentary about LADBS but I think this provides some important additional perspective on LADBS's internal dynamics. No one should be too surprised when organizations whose leadership lacks integrity, as appears to have been the case at LADBS, end up with poor morale and performance amongst their staff-level workforce.
 
Yes, exactly. Yelp is most typically used by customers to review service industry businesses, like restaurants and the like, but unsurprisingly some users are turning to the platform to report their experience with government services as well. Quite a few permitting offices are getting reviewed on Yelp, Google, and even Facebook actually. As one example, Greensboro, NC's Building Department is rated only one out of five stars on Google out of six total reviews. Although citizens can't readily vote for change or organize a petition down at city hall, at least technology has made it super convenient to get on one's smartphone and lodge complaints via social media rating platforms - there's definitely something positive and democratic about that.
I don't understand what you guys are saying, you should be a contractor and go through what we go through..
the online service is horrible, you people ask questions that you don't give an answers for to be able to fill out in the forms on online.. it's it's wicked and it's a horrible site with tech issues and formatted badly, unresponsive at times... I tried canceling or rescheduling an inspection and then it's asking me for an inspection code like what what code I can what code do I have to put in that I don't even know the damn code to reschedule something when I don't even have the code what code.... They asked for six digit code to reschedule or cancel it your inspection so you going to dig deep in the internet and you find codes for different permits but those are three code numerals,
and it's killing production and it's killing our pockets... But you guys don't see it like that because you guys don't work out in the field every hour counts, and every and every day that we have to wait because of the covid-19 you can't walk in anymore permit mumbo jumbo you know how many people that has cost days of pay...
I got to wait for 2 week appointment to pull a permit that I used to pull in one day, so that means that the drywall is going to have to wait that means that the painters are going to have to wait that means that so many people are going to have to wait because of ridiculousness... Not to mention the days wasted trying to get a decent inspection permit pulled without having problems with online... This mumbo jumbo cost me a month of time and not just me other people.... And no it wasn't my fault....
 
and every day that we have to wait because of the covid-19 you can't walk in anymore permit mumbo jumbo you know how many people that has cost days of pay...
I got to wait for 2 week appointment to pull a permit that I used to pull in one day, so that means that the drywall is going to have to wait that means that the painters are going to have to wait that means that so many people are going to have to wait because of ridiculousness...

I was really glad to see this review posted here. Raffi's frustrations with the LADBS appear to be 100% consistent with those of other reviewers. One thing Raffi mentioned that didn't come up in the other reviews is the role that COVID may have played in permanently degrading customer service at the LADBS. Prior to the pandemic, contractors were apparently able to walk in, work with permitting staff in person, and often get a permit the same day. It looks like LADBS' post-COVID operations rely more heavily on its online system for appointment scheduling/application tracking and this arrangement isn't working very well. Some of the details Raffi shared - e.g., people getting confused over what codes they need to enter to schedule inspections - are really concerning and suggest that LADBS still has a lot of kinks to work out in terms of its customer-facing processes and usability of its online system. The delays and inefficiencies at LADBS are also hindering the ability of contractors to schedule work and complete projects within reasonable timeframes, which (as Raffi points out) is resulting in real negative financial consequences for the people working on the ground.

It's clear that LADBS' disregard for the quality of its customers' experience has caused public sentiment toward them to hit rock bottom. LADBS will likely need to face heightened public scrutiny (and maybe a third-party audit?) before the political will to push for the necessary changes can materialize. Hopefully this happens sooner than later.
 
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