New York City Buildings Department, Texas Code Official Accept Code Council Building Safety Award
From tornados to earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and even the World Trade Center collapse, building safety codes play a major role in saving lives, protecting property and reducing recovery costs often paid for by taxpayer dollars.
Following the 9/11 tragedy, most Americans came to know who “First Responders” are. The same cannot be said of their bookend group: “First Preventers,” code officials who check and double-check code compliance.
In the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, during the Building Safety Week (May 5-11) reception, International Code Council Board President Steve Shapiro honored Ravi Shah, Director of Urban Development, city of Carrollton, Texas, and the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) represented by Deputy Commissioner of Legal Affairs and Chief Code Counsel Phyllis Arnold and Assistant Commissioner of Strategic Planning and Implementation Benjamin Jones.
The Council recognized the New York City DOB for its numerous programs to improve public safety including the Scaffold Safety Team, Worker Outreach Program, Excavations Team and Special Enforcement Team.
“The programs the Code Council recognizes tonight are First Preventers,” Arnold said. “We strive to get out in front of accidents before they happen.”
Shah accepted the award for his efforts to raise the bar for code officials through creation of the Building Officials Association of Texas Best Practices Award, and exposing students to building codes by encouraging youth to consider careers as “First Preventers.” He also supported the International Accreditation Service Building Department Accreditation Program.
“I will lose no sleep about the failures of building due to substandard construction or lack of proper code enforcement. I am assured of this because of the quality of work performed by many First Preventers,” Shah said in accepting the award.
Shah and the New York City DOB are the first recipients of the International Code Council’s Profile Awards created to honor code officials and their departments as “First Preventers.” The awards honor individuals and organizations for contributions to raising the public awareness of the work accomplished by code officials to improve public safety in the built environment.
First observed in 1980, Building Safety Week annually raises public awareness of critical safety issues. The International Code Council, a membership organization dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states choose the International Codes, building safety codes developed by the International Code Council.