ICC Members: Shaping the safety of the world around us — Eirene Knott
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 Eirene Knott to share her experience in the industry, highlights of her professional career, and any insights or advice she has concerning the industry and the future of building safety.
Director of Code Services
Overland Park, Kansas, United States
International Code Council member for 18 years
Metropolitan Kansas City Chapter of the ICC and some others
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Knott: I completed a degree in construction science and I was looking for a job after graduation. I had a college professor who was the building official for a neighboring county and some of the things he would discuss in class intrigued me. I was able to get a job after graduation as a building inspector and pretty soon, it became second nature to me.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Knott: First and foremost, keeping up to date with the code development by either attending training on a regular basis or being involved in the code development process. Secondly would be involved in an ICC Chapter. Lastly would be having a network of peers that can help with the first two things.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Knott: My network has played a huge role in my career as have my mentors. Both have helped me to become the person I am today in terms of not only my career but my personal development as well. It may sound corny, but some of the best advice a mentor gave me was to follow my heart. It has worked well over my career.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Knott: A former supervisor of mine had me join so that when we all met in Fort Worth to vote to become ICC, we could have more than one vote. I’ve been a member ever since then.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
Knott: I have multiple certifications, including both MCP and CFM, the two of which I am the proudest. I have also served on multiple ICC Committees, including the Education Committee, two exam development committees and the IBC General Code Development Committee. Each one of these has challenged me in my career to have a better understanding of the code as a whole.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Knott: 20-plus years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Knott: Wow, I think I’ve seen a lot over 20-plus years. The 2021 code development was probably the biggest change with the mass timber provisions.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Knott: I love seeing new technology develop. I’m curious to see what role 3-D printing will play in the future.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Knott: Take advantage of every opportunity that is given to you. Seek out those who you want to be like and ask them to be a mentor.
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Knott: I never would have seen myself as an educator when I first started in this career. Now that’s about all I do; help educate others.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Knott: I’m in the process of developing a training program to help the staff development within our firm in terms of code knowledge. I’m working on developing some code tips and tricks for those studying for their ARE’s as well as providing an annual company-wide training program to keep everyone up-to-date on current code requirements across the country.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Knott: I used to scrapbook a lot when I had kids at home. Now I do jigsaw puzzles (thank you Covid), some genealogy, traveling and reading.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Knott: Great question. There’s a song by the Indigo Girls that I’ve used as my theme song for quite some time now, Closer to Fine. After all, isn’t our goal in life to make ourselves better people?
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.