International Code Council member Kenneth Fultz
International Code Council members like Kenneth Fultz are the individuals behind codes and safety; ensuring building safety today and working for a stronger tomorrow
Code professionals ensure building safety today, for a stronger tomorrow. As the individuals behind modern codes and standards, these professionals are responsible for ensuring the safety and compliance of codes and standards, shaping the safety of the world around us, and serve as the safety foundation for our buildings. They don’t just ensure that buildings are constructed to withstand the stress of everyday use, they are behind the security and stability of every building. They specialize in preventative measures to help communities weather unforeseen natural disasters and ensure that first responders have less to worry about and can do their jobs safely. Code professionals are an essential piece in the building and construction puzzle and are engaged in the building process from the initial building plan to the finished product.
The International Code Council is a member-focused association with over 64,000 members dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. They protect the public through their commitment to building safety; enforce code compliance to empower and educate stakeholders across the built environment to embrace and integrate safety standards in their work; support economic development by making our buildings sturdier, and therefore longer lasting. Their knowledge, skills, and abilities impact every building, in every community.
The Code Council recognizes the importance of continuing to grow awareness of the important work that code professionals do and the impact they have, in the hopes of encouraging aspiring building safety professionals to join in on the building safety movement. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked Kenneth Fultz to share his experience in the industry, highlights of his professional career, and any insights or advice he has concerning the industry and the future of building safety.
Chief Building Official
City of Gahanna
Gahanna, Ohio, United States
International Code Council member for 22 years
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Fultz: With my degree at Penn State in architectural engineering, the course work included studying the building codes. After graduation, I worked in consulting engineering designing buildings. In 1988, while marketing our consulting services, the city of Gahanna requested help with its building division — requiring me to become certified as a building official, plans examiner and building inspector. After working as a consultant for Gahanna and many other jurisdictions in Central Ohio, I accepted the position as chief building official in 2006.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Fultz: First, you need a good knowledge of the codes. Second, you need to have a desire to be helpful in assisting residents, building owners, contractors and design professionals with the importance of the codes and convincing them to be compliant. Third, you need to have local and state administrations be supportive of the need for enforcement and support the personnel in the building departments.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Fultz: I personally would not be in the position I am today if I was not convinced by my mentors to obtain my professional engineer’s license.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Fultz: I became a member of BOCA when I became certified as a building official, then with the ICC. I joined the organization back then since they had staff that provided great assistance with code interpretations. The membership also provided a discount on code purchases and training opportunities with local seminars.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Fultz: Forty-three years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Fultz: There have been great advancements in materials and adoption of the building codes.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Fultz: Better safety measures adopted along with advancements in the building industry.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Fultz: They should not be shy about asking questions about any topic or code issue they don’t understand — and try to find a good mentor with good knowledge of the code. They should attend various seminars, taking advantage of classes offered by the local ICC chapter.
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Fultz: It is surprising to know how much the general population does not understand about the importance of building codes. Although, I am also surprised to occasionally get praise from an unexpected source.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Fultz: I am looking forward to retirement in the next few years, spending more time at my vacation home on a trout stream in Pennsylvania. However, I plan to stay active as a code official and engineer upon retirement.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Fultz: I enjoy attending classical and jazz concerts and opera, and visiting concert halls around the country, having studied music, theater and acoustic design. I also enjoy performing with the Penn State Alumni Blue Band, especially for pre-game and half-time performances before more than 100,000 spectators.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Fultz: Nittany Lion Architectural Engineer Supporter of the Arts.
There’s a world of opportunity in being a member of the International Code Council. Membership provides the tools to get the most out of each workday: from discounts on essential International Codes and other publications to the best prices on top-quality training and ICC certification renewals, Code Council membership helps budgets go further. Exclusive member benefits include code advice from expert technical staff as well as access to member-exclusive news and articles at the Building Safety Journal news portal. Plus, only Code Council members vote in the ICC code development process. An online Career Center allows job postings and searches for new job opportunities — all at no additional charge.
The Code Council offers numerous councils, committees, and resources to help code professionals grow and network with colleagues. Six discipline-specific Membership Councils offer members a place to come together and be a more powerful force in shaping your association, your industry, your career, and your future. Code Development Committees are an instrumental part of the ICC code development process and are responsible for the review and evaluation of code change proposals submitted to the International Codes. Professional Development Committees serve to better align the ICC education programs and certification programs to ensure that quality training is available to meet the needs of all members, customers and certification holders. Finally, the Value of the Code Official toolkit helps members to heighten awareness of the importance of code officials to their communities and to highlight the code official’s role as a helpful advocate for community safety, health and welfare, and economic development.