ICC Members: Shaping the safety of the world around us — Bill Hulse
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 studier, 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 Bill Hulse, building official/floodplain administrator for the Grand County Building Department in Moab, Utah, 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.
Building Official/Floodplain Administrator
Grand County Building Department
Moab, Utah, United States
International Code Council member for 13 years
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Hulse: I was in the construction industry for about 20 years, both before and after my service in the Marine Corp. I spent time traveling the country doing construction in many different states and learned a lot of regional techniques for getting the job done to code. While in Moab, Utah, working on splitting my new home into a two-family dwelling, I met the building official, Jeff Whitney, who was impressed with my knowledge of construction and code. When he lost his inspector, he asked me if I would be interested in the position. After thinking about it long and hard — after all, it was considered to be going to the dark side among my fellow contractors — I decided I wasn’t getting any younger and applied for the position.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Hulse: A thirst for knowledge, as the industry is constantly changing. A belief that the codes are necessary to protect life and property. A little common sense, and understanding that there is more than one way to skin a cat.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Hulse: They have been essential. As an inspector in a small jurisdiction, we don’t have the luxury of having multiple inspectors and plans examiners for each discipline and we are expected to know and enforce every code. We rely heavily on other inspectors, instructors and industry professionals to help us wrap our heads around specific code requirements. As a builder by trade, it takes a little explaining sometimes to understand the reasoning and intent behind plumbing or electrical code requirements to be able to enforce them properly.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Hulse: Jeff is insistent on being involved in the organization and having a voice in the codes we enforce. He has instilled in me the idea that the ICC is only as strong as it’s members’ support.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
Hulse: I am currently serving the last year of my second term on the Accessibility Exam Development committee. I am a regional coordinator for education for the Utah Chapter ICC. I have 14 ICC certifications.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Hulse: 13 years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Hulse: cdpACCESS has made a huge difference in my opinion. I believe it gets more members involved in the code hearing process. The other is the energy code. I believe the I-Codes are a minimum standard. The energy code, however, seems to have become the exception to the rule.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Hulse: I think the construction industry, in general, is evolving. With new products, materials and methods our industry will need to evolve with it. I am excited to be part of the next chapter in the way we build.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Hulse: Keep an open mind. When you think you know everything you stop learning anything.
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Hulse: That being a code official does not have to be viewed as going to the dark side. It can be a partnership, I have tried to use my construction experience to foster a good working relationship with contractors. I think helping to come up with acceptable solutions to code issues that arise rather than stating that ‘it does not meet code and fix it’ goes a long way in building respect.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Hulse: As the new building official for Grand County Utah I would like to follow in the footsteps of my predecessor Jeff Whitney by mentoring my inspector and instilling the same qualities and values that Jeff instilled in me. I will be able to sleep well in my retirement knowing that the county is in good hands.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Hulse: I enjoy spending time with my wife, children and grandchildren, whether it’s out in nature or doing never-ending projects around the house. And I always try to leave time for a round of golf.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Hulse: Who Would Have Thought!!!
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.