The Innovation in Code Administration Award

The International Code Council Government Relations Innovation in Code Administration Awards Program recognizes fire and building organizations for innovation in the delivery of code administration services in their communities.

The award program is sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs-Fire and Life Safety Section (IAFC-FLSS), the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) and the Government Relations Division of the International Code Council, a US-based member-focused organization that promulgates building and fire safety codes. Fire and building departments across the country are developing new and innovative approaches to delivering code administration services as part of community risk reduction efforts. IAFC-FLSS, NASFM, and ICC want to recognize these organizations and share their innovations with other departments seeking new and workable code enforcement solutions.

Call for Nominations

Code enforcement is one of the five pillars of community risk reduction that include education, enforcement, engineering, economics and emergency response.  Building and fire codes establish the minimum level of risk a community is willing to accept for the built environment, and organizations that enforce these codes are consistently challenged to adopt, modify, interpret and apply them in a manner that meets communities ever-changing demands.  Innovative tools and techniques in code enforcement should be shared to improve the effectiveness of code enforcement at reducing risk from death, injury, fires and other natural or manmade disasters.

Award Eligibility

The nominee must be a building or fire code organization that provides code administration services to one or more jurisdictions.  This may include fire departments, fire marshal’s offices, ICC Chapters, councils of governments, building departments or other public sector organizations that are charged with code administration.  Individuals are not eligible for this award.

The organization must have implemented a unique practice that enhances building or fire code administration services in the community.

The practice should have resulted in a positive impact on public and firefighter safety, measurable reduction in deaths, injuries or property damage, and/or the quality, effectiveness or efficiency of code administration services.

An organization can nominate itself.

Award Presentation

Recipients of the Award will be announced during the ICC annual conference at the Government Relations Forum and IAFC-FLSS, NASFM, and ICC will inform the public of these awards through their regular media outlets.

The award can be presented to organizations each year representing a code administration agency.

Award Criteria

Applications can be submitted at any time.  The application should include the following information:

  1. Applicant(s) name, organization(s) and contact information (mailing address, email address, telephone numbers).
  2. Explain what prompted the agency to develop the practice and whether it was an issue for only one agency or endemic to other code enforcement agencies as well. Also identify whether the practice impacted code administration at the local, county, regional and/or state level.
  3. How does this innovation align with the ICC mission, vision, and goals?
  4. Is this a new project/program or did your organization model it after an existing program developed by another organization? If modeled after another program, identify it and how you learned of it.
  5. Did the organization develop partnerships with other organizations or government agencies (e.g. the private sector, law enforcement, research centers, learning institutions or other code enforcement agencies) to implement the program? If so, please describe the partnership.
  6. Describe how the jurisdiction measures successful outcomes. Provide demonstrated measurable outcomes/accomplishments attributed to the program.
  7. What efforts are being accomplished to sustain the program?

You may submit additional documentation to support the nomination.

Application Deadline

The deadline to submit applications for the annual Award is March 1.  Applications must be submitted to the International Code Council, Membership Services, 900 Montclair Road, Birmingham, Alabama, 35213, by email to, by fax 205-591-0775.

Questions about the Award or application process should be submitted to Karla Higgs, vice president Membership Services, 1.888.422.7233, Extension 5268 or

Selection Committee

The selection committee will be composed of representatives from the International Code Council Fire Service and Building Membership Council Governing Committees, including their IAFC-FLSS and NASFM representatives.  Members of the joint selection committee will be appointed by the respective chairs of the Fire Service Membership Council Governing Committee and Building Membership Council Governing Committee.

The chair of the selection committee will alternate between the Fire Service Membership Council (odd numbered years) and the Building Membership Council (even-numbered years).

Award History

In 2016, the International Code Council, in association with the International Association of Fire Chiefs-Fire and Life Safety Section (IAFC-FLSS), the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) and the Government Relations Division of the International Code Council, created the International Code Council Government Relations Innovation in Code Enforcement Award. At the time, there did not exist a nationally-recognized award specifically honoring code enforcement organizations that were innovative in their approaches to fire or building code enforcement. The first winner of the Innovation in Code Administration Award was the City of St. Paul, Minnesota, Department of Safety in 2017.

2017 Nominees

Port St. Lucie, FL ▼
Created a red tag elimination initiative to reduce the number of failed inspections by trade. The goal was to reduce failed inspections, a.k.a. “red tags”, by 60% in six months and the city exceeded that goal in just one month with an 80% reduction in red tags.

For additional information, Click here.
Valdosta, GA ▼
Created “First Step” a pre-planning type meeting for the public that brings all departments such as Planning and Zoning, Engineering, Utilities, Fire, Health, Police, Historical, Building, Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical with developers or citizens to discuss upcoming projects they would like to do.

For additional information, Click here.
Des Moines, IA ▼
The Central Iowa Code Consortium was organized to provide a collaborative process for government and industry to work together to review and recommend amendments to the proposed 2015 fire and building codes. The effort involved 18 local governments, more than 60 government and business leaders and about 1,500 hours spent reviewing codes and creating recommendations for consideration by the participating communities

For additional information, Click here.
Glendale, CA ▼
Deployed a remote inspection robot to integrate technology into the inspection arena. The “Rover” greatly enhances inspector’s ability to effectively and efficiently administer the code while also ensuring personal safety. The startup cost for a “Rover” vehicle is very affordable, starting at less than $500 for the full package.

For additional information, Click here.
Schaumburg, IL ▼
The Fire and Community Development departments partnered to administer fire and life-safety code enforcement. This cooperation has resulted in an annual average dollar loss from fires being reduced from approximately $2,500,000 from 2012-2014 to an annual approximate dollar loss of $750,000 from 2015-2016. Since 2016, the Code Enforcement Division of Community Development oversees an adjudication system for code violations. Since then, the Fire Department has issued 26 citations to businesses that failed to comply after being notified of serious fire code violations. The fines collected totaled $5,400. Business license holders who fail to comply receive hefty fines and must comply and pay their fines before their annual business licenses can be renewed.

For additional information, Click here.
Southlake and Pearland, TX ▼
Established the Texas Fire Sprinkler Coalition program “Bringing Safety Home” to promote education and the adoption of residential fire sprinklers. Membership comprises Texas building officials, fire officials, fire and burn survivors, fire fighters, contractors and product manufacturers.

For additional information, Click here.
Rock Hill, SC ▼
Created the “Open for Business” program where building inspectors, fire marshals, zoning staff and, occasionally, infrastructure/utilities staff, meet potential permit clients on the site they wish to develop or renovate. The team creates a “Feasibility Analysis” based on the International Existing Building Code or other I-Codes, ICC A117.1-09 Standards and city zoning regulations. Successful candidates are assisted through permitting, inspections, the certificate of occupancy process, business licensing and utility account creation.

For additional information, Click here.
Clark County, NV ▼
Consolidated the Fire Prevention Bureau with the Building Department to improve the safety of the site-built environment by streamlining and improving the “prevention” service delivered by Clark County. By adopting some of the practices employed by the building department, the fire prevention bureau has been able to improve its service delivery, code enforcement, and ultimately the safety of the site-built environment all of which are fundamental to the ICC Vision and Mission.

For additional information, Click here.
Phoenix, AZ ▼
Created an annual facilities permit program appointing a team of inspectors to a customer and all their facilities that are in the city, not based on a geographic zone. This provides consistency to the customer and allows inspection staff to become familiar with a specialized process or function of the building. The Annual Facilities Permit Program (AFP) has proven to be an effective tool for both code compliance and economic development. When a new employer comes to town, they are encouraged, but not required to utilize the customized service. This will provide a quick path to occupancy and the production needs of the employer. It also put people to work faster to benefit the local economy. The fee structure is based on an hourly rate for services and affords the customer the opportunity to control costs by effective project management. It is especially beneficial to hospitals and industrial users in that large equipment costs are not used to determine plan review and permit fees.

For additional information, Click here.

Past Winners

St. Paul, Minnesota Year of 2017
The 2017 ICC Innovation in Code Administration Award winner was the City of St. Paul, Minnesota for its rental residential inspection program that assigned letter grades to individual properties based on a variety of safety factors. The program provides both increased community safety and an easily understood method for comparing hazardous conditions found and corrections achieved.

For additional information, Click here.