ICC Members: The individuals behind codes and safety — Allen Posey
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 studier, 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 Allen Posey, building official for Charles Abbott Associates, 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.
Charles Abbott Associates
Albany, Georgia, United States
International Code Council member for 15 years
South West Georgia Inspectors Association
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Posey: Working as a contractor, I often interacted with inspectors and became increasingly interested in the why of what they do. I applied in 1993 to my local jurisdiction and was granted the opportunity to become an inspector. I worked constantly with inspectors, plan review personnel and the building official to achieve a professional balance of fieldwork and study that allowed me to test and qualify all of our department’s positions.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Posey: You need to be humble. No one knows everything. Always be open to new ideas and methods and how to incorporate them with the decisions you make daily. You need perspective. A six can look just like a nine depending on the viewpoint. There are many ways to view the situations, interpretations and responses we get to deal with regularly. An open mind is essential to good judgment. You need patience. One thing I have learned through time is that not everyone learns and understands at the same level and rate. Many times the person you are speaking with will have no common frame of reference. Often as a building official, plan reviewer and inspector, it is easy to forget that what you deal with daily is brand new to someone else.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Posey: If I had not been included in a good mentoring program that focused on cross-training, I believe that my advancement from inspector to plan reviewer and ultimately to building official would not have been possible. In addition to mentoring, networking became my next greatest learning experience. Visiting different jurisdictions and states gave me an opportunity to learn the concept that there are other solutions to our issues than just the ones we use.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Posey: Networking and chapter meetings introduced me to the International Code Council. As I became more interested in advancing my career my membership in ICC proved to be a vital resource for knowledge and physical resources. Having access to the code community through the Code Council provided a solid foundation for my learning base.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
Posey: I currently serve on the Electrical Exam Committee for the Code Council and I have 43 active certifications.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Posey: 37 years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Posey: I have noticed through code cycles and revisions the continued increase in building structural and fire safety requirements that have proven to be life-saving changes.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Posey: I constantly look forward to new products and incorporating new ideas into my daily routine.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Posey: Surround yourself with positive influence and never stop moving forward.
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Posey: I find it puzzling and scary at the same time when I see unskilled contractors working on building safety elements and they have no idea that they could cause very serious problems.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Posey: I think I would enjoy consulting, mentoring and teaching code-related topics to seasoned professionals as well as those who are first starting out.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Posey: I enjoy reading articles on construction techniques and personal leadership.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Posey: “There are many paths to success, never stop looking”
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.