Who inspects your hotel?
A wide array of agencies and organizations inspect hotels in North Carolina, all focusing on specific areas.
Local Code Enforcement Department
During construction, code inspectors see nearly all aspects of the hotel – including those hidden behind a wall or underground.
Inspectors review the building’s structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and zoning features. They inspect renovations and equipment replacements.
Inspectors did not know Best Western replaced the hotel’s pool heater in fall 2011. In March 2012, inspectors did review and pass the heater’s conversion from liquid propane to natural gas.
Local Health Department
The department inspects hotels annually or after a complaint is filed. It inspects lodging, food and pool areas.
A 33-point checklist guides inspectors as they review the pool’s water quality, maintenance and equipment and dressing rooms.
Health officials do not inspect pool heaters.
Local Fire Marshal
The fire marshal inspects hotels annually and after a complaint. Inspections can last more than two hours and review everything from evacuation plans and lighting to sprinklers and kitchen exhaust systems.
It does not test for carbon monoxide.
N.C. Department of Labor
The state Department of Labor inspects elevators and some large mechanical equipment such as water heaters, refrigeration equipment and kitchen cookers.
Most objects are inspected every two years, a department spokeswoman said. She said the state had no knowledge of the heater that leaked carbon monoxide in Boone.
The Occupational Safety And Health Administration
OSHA, the agency that regulates workplace safety, conducts some random inspections and inspects hotels after a complaint or incident.
Inspectors are free to check the entire hotel for workplace safety issues.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association compiled a 12-page safety and security checklist for hotel owners.
Topics covered by the checklist include hazardous materials, kitchens, swimming pools, rooms and public areas, housekeeping areas and fire safety.
The checklist does not mention of pool heaters or carbon monoxide alarms.
AAA awards a Diamond Rating to top hotels. The rating system concentrates mostly on aesthetics, amenities and service, a spokeswoman said.
Hotels must meet basic standards for security, comfort and cleanliness.
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau accredits hotels after reviewing government actions, complaints and pattern of complaints, among other issues. It does not do its own safety inspections, a spokeswoman said.