Building code official professionals are undoubtedly the unsung heroes of the construction industry. Upon observation of a construction site, the skilled work of carpenters, metalworkers, heavy equipment operators, masons, electricians, plumbers, and countless other tradespersons is easily seen as they operate in concert to assemble a new structure or modify an existing one. Although it is the building code official professionals who bear the enormous responsibility of ensuring these structures adhere to regulations, the aim is to guarantee the safety of the community members who will occupy them. Their work is often unseen by the public and yet their role could not be more vital.
The behind-the-scenes nature of this sector of the construction industry is, arguably, one of the biggest barriers to its sustainability. Recruiting the next generation of building code official professionals is not always easily accomplished. The general public, in this particular case the youth, who are preparing to make difficult decisions which will determine their career path, could be unaware of this essential and rewarding profession. This recruitment challenge has recently been exacerbated by the fact a staggering contingent of the code enforcement workforce (over 80 percent) will be reaching retirement age within the next 15 years, while only a little over three percent is comprised of personnel under the age of 35.
ICC – The Future of Code Officials, August 2014
To ensure there is a robust pool of qualified individuals prepared to carry the torch of building code enforcement into the future, the Building Officials Association of Texas (BOAT) has been facilitating Career Development Days as a part of their annual conference for the past three years. These full-day workshops invite young professionals preparing to enter the workforce to participate in educational activities and network with industry leaders in an effort to demonstrate the tremendous opportunities associated with a career in the code enforcement industry.
2017 BOAT ANNUAL CONFERENCE – ROCKWALL
The inaugural Career Development Day in 2017 presented participants with beneficial insight regarding career options within the industry, and an inside look into the code enforcement profession. The morning session included a networking breakfast in which attendees were able to connect with members of BOAT and representatives of the International Code Council (ICC), classroom education focusing on professional development, and mentor lead group discussions focused on code development, ICC Certification, and the steps necessary to becoming a code enforcement professional. During the afternoon, attendees participated in hands-on training at the City of Rockwall’s Building Inspections Department which allowed them to witness first-hand the different job positions related to permitting, plan review, and inspections and their respective responsibilities. The day concluded with a round table discussion lead by BOAT mentor and City of Rockwall Chief Building Official Jeffery Widmer.
2018 BOAT and NTCICC – FORT WORTH
The 2018 Career Development Day saw a collaborative effort between BOAT and the North Texas Chapter of the ICC (NTCICC) and hosted over 1,500 students. While the event built upon many of the same components comprising the 2017 Career Development Day such as networking opportunities and classroom education, there was also the addition of elements like a high school technical training area facilitated by the ICC and the opportunity to connect one-on-one with then NTCICC Vice President Suzanne Arnold.
2019 BUILDING PROFESSIONAL INSTITUTE – IRVING
The third Career Development Day occurred in May of this year and aimed to continue the format and success of the previous two years. While many of the same features were replicated, BOAT sought to implement a more targeted outreach approach as students from MacArthur High School’s Construction Technology Program were invited to participate. As with the two preceding Career Development Days, the 2019 event included education sessions about the industry, career discussions, networking opportunities, and round table discussions.
We are hopeful these continued outreach efforts will result in the recruitment of young professionals interested in working for this rewarding industry. BOAT has an artillery of amazing benefits young professionals are looking for in a successful career. The only thing standing between our industry and the young professionals is engagement.
Our upcoming outreach program will be the Texas Military Families Career Path Program. We look forward to providing more information on the program at the next business meeting.
If you are interested in participating in one of these outreach programs, please let Board members know, and we will call you to provide more information.
For more information about professional building code official career opportunities, please visit the websites listed below.
Vice President, Bureau Veritas