ICC Members: Shaping the safety of the world around us — Edward Larkin
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 Edward Larkin 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.
Edward Larkin, P.E.
Chazen, A LaBella Company
Latham, New York, United States
International Code Council member for 10 years
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Larkin: My family owned and operated a construction company that I worked at from a young age, so I had a strong understanding of all aspects of building design and construction. I went to college to pursue a degree in structural engineering and spent my early career working towards my PE. After that, I gravitated more towards construction phase services, and building code compliance plays a major role. I developed a team that can not only design projects but also perform building code reviews and full construction phase support services.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Larkin: One, understand not only how buildings are designed but constructed. Two, understand the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in the design and construction process, from the owner to the commissioning agent. And three, be able to communicate effectively with all stakeholders.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Larkin: I think having a mentor is so important, specifically in this industry. Every kid is aware of the opportunities in design or as a CM/contractor, but there are so many more roles. I am fortunate to have found a mentor who was an expert in building codes and standards; he helped me realize the potential for a career in private-sector building code consulting.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Larkin: The ICC is the leading source for building codes and the education and certifications associated with them.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
Larkin: I have not been involved in any committees but our team has numerous ICC certifications.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Larkin: Twenty years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Larkin: I don’t think there have been major changes in the past two decades. While greater energy efficiency and new products are always available, the majority of construction still relies in tried and true materials and methods. I’ve seen an increased focus on code enforcement, special inspections and commissioning, but these have failed to become uniformly enforced as well.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Larkin: I am really excited about the future of sustainable design and construction. Where LEED and other early programs failed, net-zero and carbon-neutral and starting to provide real goals that will provide positive change. More countries and municipalities are embracing sustainable design and I think before my career is over we will see true sustainability in the majority of new building projects.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Larkin: Pick a career path that you are passionate about. The design and construction industry is hard, and it will be so much easier to work through your career and accomplish your goals if you believe in what you are doing.
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Larkin: Unfortunately, I am always surprised at how many developers and jurisdictions do not know all of the requirements for oversight, inspection, testing and certification of a building. Uniform enforcement of the building code and reference standards is the biggest problem in our industry.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Larkin: I would like to expand into development. I’ve spent my entire career working for developers or jurisdictions, trying to convince someone else why to do it “right” and I would like to have the opportunity to drive quality and sustainable development from the owner’s side.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Larkin: Nothing is better than coaching my son’s baseball team, watching my daughter’s swim meet or just spending a pool day with my kids. In the winter it’s family ski trips. When I get time away from family, it’s always golf.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Larkin: Engagement and Impact.
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.
To learn more about ICC membership, click here, or contact ICC Member Services by email or 888-ICC-SAFE (888-422-7233) ext. 33804.