International Code Council member Mariam Madjlessi
International Code Council members like Mariam Madjlessi are the individuals behind codes and safety; ensuring building safety today and working for a stronger tomorrow
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 Mariam Madjlessi 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.
Mariam Madjlessi, P.E., CBO, CASp
Deputy Building Official
City of Tustin
Tustin, California, United States
International Code Council member for 10 years
Orange Empire Chapter
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Madjlessi: I started as a civil engineer and I was designing residential and commercial buildings. I had a very strong interest in reading the building codes and I was always the go-to person to ask questions regarding the code requirements. I eventually helped to fill a temporary position as a plan check engineer and from there I was offered similar positions in private consulting firms and then in the city of Tustin.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Madjlessi: Knowledge of the codes and their application to different circumstances. Understanding that code compliance can be achieved in more than one way. Networking with other code officials and industry colleagues.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Madjlessi: I have had the most knowledgeable, caring advisor and mentor since I started working in the city of Tustin. He shared his knowledge and his experience in resolving many complex issues that he experienced throughout his career. I have used much of the knowledge that he shared with me in Building code interpretation and code enforcement to resolve many issues that I was faced with.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Madjlessi: I first became an ICC member when I was working in the private sector. It was a gift from my boss because he found out I was reading the building codes during my lunchtime so he purchased the membership for me and authorized me to purchase any of the codes that I thought could benefit the company.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
Madjlessi: I am the treasurer of the ICC Orange Empire Chapter. I have a building plans examiner, residential fire sprinkler inspector/plans examiner and certified building official certificates.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Madjlessi: Sixteen-plus years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Madjlessi: Advancement of technology in design and construction.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Madjlessi: To see more women joining the industry whether in construction, design or code compliance and enforcement.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Madjlessi: Stay focused and follow your dream!
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Madjlessi: There is always a different interpretation of the code and how to comply with a given requirement of the code.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Madjlessi: I look forward to volunteering and promoting our industry to the younger generations.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Madjlessi: I enjoy hiking and walking on the beach.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Madjlessi: She Knew She Could and She Did.
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.