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September is National Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day

September 1, 2021

Each year, the construction and critical infrastructure industries celebrate National Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day on September 1 to recognize the important work these staff do to keep people safe.

Codes, defined as "a collection of regulations adopted by a city to govern the construction of buildings" by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary1, and safety measures for building are nearly as old as buildings themselves. In 1758 B.C., King Hammurabi of Babylon, chiseled design and construction instructions along with the penalties for poor work quality into rock2. Much later, but still nearly 400 years ago, the United States created the first building codes in the nation to adhere to fire safety laws2.  This code, which dictated permittable roofing materials, was the beginning of a rich system of specific codes established in America.

In recent times, many of the codes and coding agencies that sprung up since the initial roofing code was created, have been consolidated and overseen by the International Code Council (ICC)2. Created in 2000, the ICC is an international regulatory body that has impacted almost 2 billion people with its International Codes, also known as I-Codes3. I-Codes are developed by the ICC to increase safety and are used in each state and multiple countries to guide building practices.

According to the ICC, code enforcers must be familiar with basic construction principles as well as the specifics of their industry4. Code staff can enforce safety practices in a variety of construction and critical infrastructure industries and positions including working as “building inspectors, public works inspectors, electrical inspectors, mechanical inspectors, plumbing inspectors, housing inspectors or fire prevention inspectors.”5

The need for code staff is present in many industries, like the obvious jobs listed above, but the need for code and safety rules are also found in unexpected fields and situations. For example, the ICC recently partnered with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) to support interior designers’ ability to uphold codes and incorporate safety in their designs6.

“The Code Council is proud to partner with ASID to reach our common goal of promoting building safety and creating safe, affordable and sustainable communities,” said Dominic Sims, ICC's Chief Executive Officer. “Interior design is a vital part of building safety and through this collaboration, we have the opportunity to arm ASID members with even more knowledge, allowing them to design to the safest and most efficient codes and standards.”6

Code and those who enforce code were also shown to be important in instances of natural disasters such as tropical depression Ida which is moving from the southern to eastern United States. Together, the ICC and the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA), sponsor the Disaster Response Alliance (DRA), which manages a database of safety professionals that can mobilize “to assist with post-disaster safety assessments, building damage assessments, inspections, and surge support for other code-related functions.”6 Following natural disasters such as Ida, code officials are also needed to assess damage, provide detailed reports of necessary repairs, clear buildings for use, and suggest practices to lessen the damage done by future disasters6.

Code staff are essential, not only in the industries in which they work, but to society as a whole as they ensure the buildings, transportation, and infrastructure are safe for everyday use by everyday people.

If you're interested in becoming a code enforcer and helping to protect people from preventable injuries, Capitol Technology University has expert safety professionals teaching in-demand degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Capitol Tech's safety faculty are working professionals, so no matter if you enroll in a Bachelor's in Construction Safety or a PhD in Emergency and Protective Services, you can be sure that you're receiving a relevant education that will help you land a job in your field.

References

  1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Building Code. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/building%20code.
  2. National Today. (2021). Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day – September 1, 2021. Retrieved from https://nationaltoday.com/building-and-code-staff-appreciation-day/#:~:text=Building%20and%20Code%20Staff%20Appreciation%20Day%20is%20celebrated%20every%20year,t%20get%20as%20much%20gratitude.
  3. ICC. (2021). About the International Code Council. Retrieved from https://www.iccsafe.org/about/who-we-are/.
  4. ICC. (2021). The International Codes. Retrieved from https://www.iccsafe.org/products-and-services/i-codes/the-i-codes/.
  5. ICC. (2021). Careers in Code Enforcement. Retrieved from https://www.iccsafe.org/content/careers-in-code-enforcement/.
  6. ICC. (2021, August 19). International Code Council and American Society of Interior Designers Announce Partnership. Retrieved from https://www.iccsafe.org/about/periodicals-and-newsroom/international-code-council-and-american-society-of-interior-designers-announce-partnership/.