Sara Swanson

Western Washtenaw Construction Authority presents a friendly face in Inspector Doug Parr

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Unless you’ve built a new home, a shed, a pole barn or swimming pool lately, you may not be familiar with the Western Washtenaw Construction Authority. Western Washtenaw Construction Authority, or WWCA is the regional body for Freedom, Bridgewater and Manchester Townships, and the Village of Manchester that acts as the permitting and enforcing agency for building activities and soil erosion/sedimentation control. It is responsible for building and trade permits, and corresponding inspections.

And as of a year ago, 2017, the man in charge is Doug Parr.

Parr, a 5th generation Manchester resident, has been an active electrician for 45 years and a contractor, but is no stranger to local government as he served on the Bridgewater Township Board starting in the 1970s, and served as Township Supervisor for 21 of those years. He stepped down to take the position as electrical inspector for WWCA in 2006. In addition to his position as building official, he continues on as electrical inspector and now as building inspector as well, and he stays up to date with continuing education.

Parr feels strongly that although WWCA operates under a profit/loss budget like a business, as part of a governmental agency it should only be profitable enough to ensure continued operation and prices should be affordable to the public. Parr also views the WWCA’s goal as encouraging new growth, building upgrades and energy efficiency while assuring our community is a safe, healthy, and vital place to live. He stated the goal as: “Saving lives THEN structures.”

Parr stated that sometimes people have the idea that he is out driving around trying to “catch” people doing things incorrectly or without permits. He said, “We don’t take the position of policing, we try to encourage people to use us for safety.” He also said that a few times he has noticed people doing things without permits, but that he doesn’t fine them, he just explains the permit process. “Sometimes people just don’t know [they need a permit],” he explained.

When asked about current building climate, Parr stated that just over the last year there has been a noticeable upswing in construction that he feels is definitely economy-driven. While there have been a few new nice houses, there has been a lot of new siding, new roofs and pole barn construction. “People are finally able to better existing structures,” he stated. This, he explained is part of maintaining our community’s vitality.

Tammy Koteles, WWCA administrative assistant

Parr stated that this is the time of year people think about construction, and one of the first steps should be to call WWCA. They can help with protocol of the process, codes, understanding zoning, etc. “We’re never too busy to stop and answer questions. There can be a fine line between repairing and replacing,” Parr stated. “Like the townships’ and village governments, we have day to day duties, but we are here for the public.”

Western Washtenaw Construction Authority is located on the lower level of the Village building (which houses the library upstairs), 912 City Road. They are open 8am to 1pm Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Their phone number is 734-428-7001 and email is wwcabuild@gmail.com.

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