Building safety ‘awareness’

May is Building Safety Month.

The International Code Council since 1980 has pushed the initiative as a way to raise “awareness about critical safety issues from structural to fire prevention, plumbing, and mechanical systems and energy efficiency.”

City of Warren Code Official Ken Hinton said each week of the month highlights different sections of their work.

The first week was preparing for disaster.

“With the recent tornado that we had, it is ironic that this is the first topic,” Hinton said. “We need to look at the codes and follow the codes so that when a natural disaster does happen” buildings hold strong.

“Codes are designed and researched for these type of events,” he said. “That’s the point of codes.”

The second-week highlights ensuring a safer future.

“When our building safety and fire prevention experts inspect buildings and review construction plans to ensure code compliance, they help to ensure the places where you live, work and play are safe,” the ICC said in a statement provided by the city. “We work closely with homebuilders, contractors, plumbers, roofers, and other construction industry trades to provide for the public safety of the community.”

Hinton said Codes staff will be distributing educational materials at some point during the month on what services they provide.

“There has to be a teamwork concept between codes, contractors and property owners for this to work,” he said.

That collaboration also extends to the very nature of the codes.

Hinton said they are looking for feedback from owners and contractors about “what’s working, what’s not working” and said they can then take those suggestions to a Review Advisory Committee through the state that has the power to recommend code changes.

“They listen,” he said. “The RAC does listen… If people were to come to us, talk to us, we can relay those things to the Department of Labor and Industry.”

The ICC noted that the first codes date back to Hammurabi in 2200 B.C. and included penalties up to death.

“We just write tickets,” Hinton joked.

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