Zoran Windrich took a job with the City of Los Angeles Housing Department as a Rehabilitation Construction Specialist just one week after the Northridge earthquake in January 1994.


Zoran Windrich, Windrich Group CEO

Zoran Windrich, Windrich Group CEO

Already degreed as a Southern California Institute of Architecture graduate and licensed General Building Contractor, Zoran Windrich took a job with the City of Los Angeles Housing Department as a Rehabilitation Construction Specialist just one week after the Northridge earthquake in January 1994. Within five years, Zoran was the first of twelve inspectors to institute the new Code Enforcement Section for the city at the Housing Department. He was responsible for researching, writing and expanding code section items used today for the Code Enforcement Inspection’s “Orders to Comply.” As both a Rehabilitation Specialist and a leader within the Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP) Contributor, Inspector Zoran’s commitment to consider all the facts through thorough research, and use all available resources led him to serve with balanced intentions.

Unfortunately, like many government programs, what sounded like a good idea, in the beginning, was drifting farther and farther away from the intended goal and vision preserved by its founding team. What started out as a community improvement solution became a bureaucratic spider web according to some owners. Inspectors were becoming overwhelmed with workload and found they were forced to spend about 50% of their time doing paperwork rather than expediting their main job of inspecting. This is a complaint echoed by today’s inspectors according to the City Controller, Laura Chick. As the caseload grew, new inspectors were added, but the skill levels and backgrounds differed greatly. Ongoing education was attempted but proved relatively inadequate for these growing needs. Given the threatening language of the order to comply and inadequate training provided to the new staff, some owners had to sell their investment property or even their home.

Shortly after starting, Zoran found himself at odds with the department. He served for five years as a public servant helping owners improve their property and comply with the new ordinance. Inspections became more like a ticket-writing exercise after he or his fellow inspectors wrote up the violation. As a result, the property owner was left to fend for themselves, having very little knowledge and support as to how they could bring and keep themselves into compliance. In one sense, the program that started out to combat slum-housing inadvertently began to carry that approach to all owners resulting in unfair treatment of some property owner.

As the number of inspectors increased, the levels of bureaucracy increased. With rapid personnel turn-over and the inconsistent interpretation of codes, inspectors and supervisors found themselves too busy or provided no guidance to help those they cited solve their sometimes complicated violations.

Zoran was unable to fulfill his passion for doing what was right and fair while working for the department. In 1999, Zoran founded Windrich assembling a multi-disciplined group of professionals covering the gamut of skills needed to help owners with code compliance issues as well as general property problems. Trained Inspection Staff, Engineers, Contractors, Architects, Entitlement Specialist, CAD Design Technicians, and Legal Advisors were all brought together to supply a single, comprehensive legalization solution provider. The synergistic nature of the concept created a service far greater than the sum of the individual parts.

The expressed mission of Windrich incorporated a preventative aspect as well as a restorative. Not only would the company help those who had been cited for code violations to meet compliance requirements, but the company would also begin educating property owners on how to avoid compliance violations in the first place in addition to maximizing the potential equity on the property by discovering the hidden value that every property has.

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