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April 2015 BSJ

Evolving the Code Official Code officials have a unique perspective on their role within the design and construction process. Inevitably, that role is shifting as the profession addresses numerous challenges, seeks to overcome negative perceptions and embraces the evolving nature of the design and construction process. THE PARADOX OF CHANGE As a code official involved in code development and/ or enforcement at the municipal, state and national levels, several things have become abundantly clear to me over the last few years: Our jobs are changing, and our ranks are dwindling. Change is not always a bad thing, however. Sometimes, change can highlight new opportunities or challenges on which to capitalize or overcome. Although some code officials are reluctant to change, preferring the status quo and resisting any forward movement, progress is ultimately made. Change is an opportunity to educate, inform and advise; not something to be feared or opposed. For some code officials, though, the thought of adapting to new technologies or roles within their communities often proves problematic. Resistance may result from a reluctance to change an entrenched process; a failure to recognize the potential benefit; or a lack of trust in the new system or method. It also might be the result of not including the code official in the discussion leading to a change or by a lack of adequate training to ensure an official feels comfortable with a process. In order to increase their overall value to a community, code officials are obligated to keep themselves educated and up-to-date on the most current codes and trends in their respective construction fields. Furthermore, it is incumbent upon a code official to help bridge barriers during the adoption and development process by being a resource to both elected officials and the design community. A well-informed, adept code official is an invaluable resource to a community and one who should be utilized for all the resources he/she can provide. THE VALUE OF CODE ENFORCEMENT Not surprisingly, a vast majority of code officials prefer to stay out of the spotlight, opting instead to keep their heads down and just focus on the core functions of their job. This is despite the fact that they often have so much By Stephen D. Jones, CBO Photo credit: Shutterstock.com APRIL 2015 | 35


April 2015 BSJ
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