ICC Members: Shaping the safety of the world around us — Randy Clawson
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 Randy Clawson 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.
Senior Associate | Architect | NCARB | LEED AP
ACI Boland Architects
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
International Code Council member for 12 years
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Clawson: I wanted to be an architect since I was young. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis and completing the required experience, I passed the Architectural Review Exam. Several years later, I passed the USGBC LEED AP exam. Building safety has always been important to me. One of the major roles of an architect is to guard the Health, Safety and Welfare of the general public. A great way to do that is to become a member of the International Code Council and to stay well informed with the current building codes.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Clawson: First, a passion for the art and science of the building construction profession. Second, a well-rounded education from an accredited university with a good architectural program. Third, it’s important to have a lot of patience, a positive attitude and enjoy working together with a diverse group of people toward a common goal of developing an enjoyable and well-designed built environment. Working with our clients, engineers and contractors to develop building designs and watching them become reality is very exciting.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Clawson: Friendships with colleagues, mentors, and advisors are a very important part of this profession. Having someone or a group of people to discuss ideas, solve problems, and generally collaborate with is not only helpful but most often a necessary portion of the design and construction process. Being able to listen well, consider other points of view and to work together toward a common goal is essential.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Clawson: I became an ICC member to have access to the many great resources that the membership offers. The ability to talk to a plan reviewer to discuss specific building code interpretations can be very helpful in solving difficult design issues during the development of a project. The ICC membership also offers many other great benefits like educational training, discounts on resources and many others as well.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
Clawson: Not at this time.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Clawson: 36 years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Clawson: There have been many changes since I began my career, like the Internet for example! It’s important to be able to embrace the changes because we all know that it’s going to happen, just wait for it. One of the other major changes during my career was the implementation of computers as design and development tools for the whole construction process. Another welcome change was when the new IBC family of codes replaced the many older building codes like BOCA, UBC and SBC. This code consolidation was very helpful when working with building designs in various portions of the country. The building technology, materials, and systems have also improved greatly over time. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Clawson: One of the most exciting things about the career of an architect is always being involved in something new. There is always a new project offering unique design challenges, which allows us the opportunity to develop great solutions for building owners and making their dreams become a reality.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Clawson: Get a good education and find a job that offers the well-rounded experience needed to pass the Architectural Review Exam. Developing friendships with colleagues and mentors is also a very important part of your personal development and will be a great resource as you begin your career.
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Clawson: I don’t know if it’s really surprising or not, but I always look forward to seeing the excitement in the eyes of the building owners and their employees as they use their newly completed building that we designed together.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Clawson: I enjoy what I’m doing now. Being an architect allows me the opportunity to work with a great group of people as we design buildings for owners to use to grow their businesses and to enrich the lives of others.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Clawson: I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, outdoor adventures, boating, water sports, and home improvement projects.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Clawson: Architect and Good Team Member. At least I hope that’s what they would say, along with someone who cared about designing buildings that the owners would be proud to call their own.
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.