ICC Members: Shaping the safety of the world around us — Dave Aldrich
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 Dave Aldrich, Building Official, Sanford, Florida, 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.
Sanford, Florida, United States
International Code Council member for 16 years
Central Florida BOAF
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Aldrich: In Houston, Texas I spent 9 years as a structural designer/detailer, for Brown and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary. I also spent one year as an inspector for the Texas Highway and Transportation Safety Department. Then we moved to Orlando, Florida, area. I spent 7 years studying and taking SBCCI tests to become a CEAP. Then once ICC replaced the SBCCI, I became an MCP. I’d been a CBO since 1993. I’ve enjoyed the 5 different cities I’ve been the building official for. I learned a lot, working with all different professionals in the building trades. I like helping people reach their dreams coming true. Be it a home or a business being constructed.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Aldrich: You need a lot of patience, nothing materializes overnight. You must embrace implementing constant change. Like our ever-changing codes and state statutes and administrative rules. Lastly, you must enjoy working with all kinds of different people.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Aldrich: My mentors have been helpful in showing the different ways some issues can be interpreted. I’ve had a great network of professionals in the Orlando area to ask questions of and be able to lean on when I needed some guidance and someone with more experience.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Aldrich: Great mentoring and I’ve always wanted to gain more knowledge on what makes things work and the need to stay current with everything that is changing around us at all times. My first key mentor was Phil McMahon who the first building official I worked under in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
Aldrich: Not anymore. I’ll be retiring in less than 3 years, so I’m not as active as I used to be. I used to be on a few BOAF state boards. I currently have all of the ICC certifications it takes to become an MCP.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Aldrich: 43 years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Aldrich: Everything is now electronic, no more paper copies of anything. The building and fire codes finally blending together.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Aldrich: It’s great now that our customers can look most anything up online. Educating people doesn’t seem to be near as adversarial as it used to be.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Aldrich: Plan as far ahead for the future as you possibly can. Don’t just think about tomorrow or next year, look as far into the future as you dare. That’s what I did when I first started this career.
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Aldrich: How easy it is to educate people on what we do that’s so important and useful to their future well being.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Aldrich: Be sure that people embrace and enjoy their time professionally and personally. None of us know how long we’ll be doing anything, we might as well be sure to enjoy it.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Aldrich: Golfing, fishing, hiking, traveling with my wife and dog.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Aldrich: Enjoying Life
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.