Building Inspector Bill Reynolds retires

After nearly 28 years as the town building inspector, Bill Reynolds is ready to take a few deep breaths and enjoy retirement before he makes any new plans.

Reynolds, 75, announced on Aug. 31 that he would be retiring from the town building department.

“It was a real good 28 years. I had a lot of support form the people above me that allowed me and my assistants to do our job and enforce the building code,” Reynolds said Thursday, Sept. 6.

Jason Celestino, the assistant building inspector, has been promoted to fill Reynolds’ job.

The assistant position that Celestino left will remain vacant for the moment, as the town consolidates several positions to save on salaries.

Always learning

Looking back on almost three decades of working for the town, Reynolds said there was always a new challenge.

“Some of the bigger projects have their own types of challenges, some of the smaller jobs have their own types of challenges,” he said.

His job was to issue permits and do inspections to ensure that a building or development meets the state’s codes up all the way until the project was complete and he issued a final approval.

A big part of that was dealing with people on a day-to-day basis, he said, many of whom might not understand what the code is for in the first place.

It was a role where he was constantly learning — often as a requirement, since the state mandates that a building inspector spend 90 hours every year on professional development, Reynolds said.

“It’s a learning curve right from day one,” he added.

Work in progress

Part of the challenge is passing that learning on to the builders and contractors who work on the project.

The state has begun requiring those contractors — electricians, fire suppression experts, technicians who install heating — to take some training on the state codes, he said.

“The town changed significantly over 28 years. It was a really good place to work,” Reynolds said.

Originally from Bethel, Reynolds has lived in Danbury most of the time he worked for the town. Before he took the job in Ridgefield in 1990, he was an assistant building inspector for the city of Danbury.

“I think the development now has slowed down quite a bit,” he said. “What we’re experiencing now is the apartment-type developments as opposed to the single family homes.”

He paused.

“It’s a work in progress, I guess, and it always will be.”