ICC Members: Shaping the safety of the world around us — Philip San Filippo
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 Philip San Filippo 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.
Philip San Filippo
Division of the State Architect
San Diego, California, United States
International Code Council member for 15 years
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
San Filippo: I began my early career as a union carpenter for 12 years before becoming certified in several construction disciplines in building inspection. I’ve been a certified inspector for the California Division of the State Architects Office, Department of General Services, for 25 years serving kindergarten through 14th-grade school facilities.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
San Filippo: Strong understanding of good construction practices. An understanding of general engineering principles and a willingness to work with other people in all aspects of construction from design to field implementation.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
San Filippo: I’ve trained under design professionals and experienced inspectors throughout my career. Every project is unique and there’s always something new to learn with the ever-changing products, materials and design concepts.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
San Filippo: I started my career as a certified ICBO inspector after spending 12 years in residential and light commercial construction.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
San Filippo: I am not currently involved in any committees due to my work schedule and family obligations. My current state of California certification as a DSA Class 1 inspector working as an assistant to the state building official and allowing me to manage other ICC deputy inspectors on my projects has replaced my former ICBO/IAPMO and AWS certifications per Title 24 of the California Building Code.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
San Filippo: 37 years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
San Filippo: I was first certified under the 1988 UBC and engineering calculations and subsequent code cycles have really evolved!
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
San Filippo: Smart buildings and green technology are very interesting and exciting for the future of how we design and build.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
San Filippo: Construction is exciting and no two buildings are ever exactly alike. Prepare to never stop learning. Have an open mind and listen!
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
San Filippo: Most people from design professionals to laborers want to do good work and most take pride in what they do. I’m surprised at times when someone will remember and put into practice what I recommended.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
San Filippo: I’m five years from formal retirement with kids entering college in a couple of years, but I would like to stay involved in construction in some capacity on a part-time basis.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
San Filippo: Fishing lakes and streams, being involved in my daughter’s sports, and traveling.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
San Filippo: Straight Shooter
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.