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Inclusive and Diligent, Phil Hoffman Works Hard Alongside ICC Members B efore Hurricane Katrina, Phil Hoffman had been a homebuilder with a typical familiarity with the codes and an appreciation for their importance, having shadowed his father, who was an electrical contractor, homebuilder and eventually chief electrical inspector for the largest parish in the state. But like many Louisiana residents, Hoffman’s life changed when Hurricane Katrina hit. In the wake of the devastation wrought by the winds and flooding, insurance companies started leaving the state and refusing to issue homeowner policies—and for homebuilders, that’s a dire situation. So it fell to the Louisiana Home Builders Association (LHBA) to come up with a plan to keep insurance companies there, and in doing so, bring their residents back to new homes. In order to do that, Randy Noel, the chair of the LHBA at the time, put together a plan to adopt the International Codes statewide, which involved the creation of the Louisiana State Uniform Code Council (UCC). Hoffman was appointed to the Louisiana UCC five years ago, and his work with the Council was enough to get him noticed by National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Ed Brady, who liked the way he worked: inclusive, diligent and always giving folks their fair say when issues arose. Brady saw those qualities as a solid foundation to serve in a leadership position, and officially appointed Hoffman to be the 2016 NAHB Chairman of the Construction, Codes and Standards committee. Since then, he says, it’s become a lot of work. He’s met with senior Code Council staff and board members, and he’s grown to appreciate the work they put in. A selfconfessed “non-code geek,” he admits the code process can be daunting—he and his staff spent 13 days in Louisville poring over every detail in the code changes during the 2016 Committee Action Hearings this past Spring. But he understands how to find the key in a code change and can easily grasp the essence behind a code change. Still, though, he counts himself fortunate to have the wealth of knowledge on his codes and standards committee at his side. “I couldn’t have gotten the education I’ve gotten with them in four years of college,” Hoffman acknowledges. After the recent flooding in Baton Rouge, the LHBA, of which Hoffman is a past president, asked if he would head up an emergency flood task force. “We ended up meeting with building officials, inspectors, and government officials to see if there was any way we could assist them,” he said. For example, the task force recommended that it would help the general public if the code office didn’t charge people to pull a permit for making home repairs made necessary due to the flooding. “We have a great relationship with the home builder association and our code officers,” Hoffman says. “Some of us builders serve on the state code council. That’s an easy bridge for us.” Hoffman was eager to help in some capacity, but not by working on homes this time around. During Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac, he estimates he worked on 80 homes or more. This time, “I just couldn’t do another disaster. I OCTOBER 2016 | 19


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