ICC Members: Shaping the safety of the world around us — Michael Benning
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 Michael Benning 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.
Whitneybell Perry Inc.
Chandler, Arizona, United States
International Code Council member for 14 years
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Benning: As an architect, I was intimately involved with ICC products such as the model building codes, the evaluation service reports, and the training available to members. Additionally, as a sitting elected city councilmember I have been very involved in the code adoption process.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Benning: Facts: must have scientific information available in order to make good decisions. Testing data: high quality and well-reasoned evaluation of products and methods. Subject matter experts: qualified individuals who are up to date on all matters related to life safety and construction technology.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Benning: Mentors have played an integral part in advancing me in my career; providing guidance, expertise, and showing me how to be a professional.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Benning: It just seemed logical to become a member in order to strengthen my knowledge and skills about building safety, means, and methods.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
Benning: Not at this time.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Benning: 35 years
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Benning: Computers, cad software, adoption of many new safety protocols such as fire sprinklers, GFIC’s, EFIS systems, engineered wood products, new insulation products, accessibility, and green energy strategies.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Benning: Architecture and construction continue to morph and respond to new technologies, new construction materials, and new methods.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Benning: Be a life long learner, take advantage of the educational opportunities in front of you to better yourself.
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Benning: How it changes over time — technology makes providing better documentation simpler, but it requires constant review and modification as the technologies change over time.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Benning: Continue to design and build better buildings and prepare future generations of architects, contractors, and plan reviewers to ensure public safety in the built environment.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Benning: Hiking, reading, music, mentoring, and politics.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Benning Robin Benning: Architect, Planner, Visionary
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.