Raising the profile of code professionals
Ron Hampton uses TV show tunes, recycled exit signs and dog biscuits to show his community he cares and is there to help.
Ron Hampton offers recycled exit sign face plates saved from job sites to small churches and businesses to swap out with homemade exit placards.
Raising our profile is an ongoing endeavor for the building code profession. It’s a difficult task, but when we’re successful on the local, state or national level, it’s a worthwhile payoff.
My mostly rural, 11-county, regional jurisdiction in Northeastern Kentucky is versatile in its localized economy, industry and education. Each segment or location identifies itself by the citizens and faith of the city or county where they worship, live, work and play. We cannot change our message to conform to each area we serve, no more than a leopard can change his spots. Our message of building safety remains the same, but the presentation may vary by location and circumstance.
Whistle while you work
I know a mature building official who seems to calm almost any situation by whistling a popular television show theme song when arriving on a job site. Anyone who remembers the “Andy Griffith Show” knows the tune. The wholesome, fair, honest, trustworthy and non-gun-toting main character Andy Griffith would help anyone. When a nervous new contractor, owner or design professional hears this tune, they are often put at ease and know that he is not there to be a “building cop” but to assist them with protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public, their family and friends.
Throw ’em a bone … or a biscuit
My personal trick is to always have a small bag of dog biscuits handy. When I see a beloved pet of the owner or contractor on the job site, the first thing I ask when getting out of my vehicle is if their dog can have a treat. We all love our pets, and this simple act starts things off right, demonstrates kindness and forms a bond with those on-site.
Reuse, recycle and remind your community why you’re there
Several years ago, I noticed that on many of my large projects, there was an excess of lighted exit sign face plates. The exit signs come with two face plates. Contractors mount the signs on the wall and one side is discarded, often piling up in the corner to be thrown away at the end of the job. Since they plan to trash the signs, I usually ask the electrical contractor if I can have a few of them to recycle and give away. When I visit a country church or small downtown business, I offer them a new “recycled” exit sign to replace their old (and sometimes homemade) exit placard. The old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” seems to hold true and this simple act helps to reassure citizens that you are looking out for them and are there to help.
We are all public servants. We must take every opportunity to bring our message of building code safety to the community in a professional and helpful manner, representing all those we serve with integrity, honesty and fairness.
Do you have a simple tip to help out your fellow code professionals and “Raise the Profile”? Maybe some nugget of wisdom passed down from a colleague, a lesson learned through trial and error, or a particular trick that you picked up in the course of your career? The best way to learn is from one another. Please share with us and help us raise the profile of all of our members.
As always, thank you all for your service, be safe out there and God bless!
Raising your profile
How do successful code officials garner support? How do they gain respect for the value they provide their communities? It does not happen overnight and it takes courage, commitment and initiative.
Past ICC Board President Wally Bailey is credited with bringing “Raise the Profile” to the forefront. The Building Official Membership Council (BOMC) Governing Committee believes in increasing the professional stature of fellow code officials by providing resources to create community awareness, enhance leadership skills and increase professional expertise.
The BOMC released the Raising the Profile page to help code officials take action to raise their profile by providing ideas, articles, slideshows and more. Use the provided resources and contribute to the effort by identifying other materials that may be of use to other code officials.
This Raising the Profile Quarterly Tip is brought to you by:
Ron Hampton, MCP, CBO
Field Inspector II
Division of Building Code Enforcement
Department of Housing, Buildings & Construction
Commonwealth of Kentucky
BOMC—Raising the Profile TG, Chair
Have something you’d like to share?
We look forward to hearing from you!