Join Us in Celebrating Building Safety Month

Published on May 01, 2024

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This May, the City of Tucson's Planning and Development Services Department (PDSD), in coordination with the International Code Council (ICC), will participate in the 44th Annual Building Safety Month, a global campaign that focuses on educating the public about the importance of building codes in ensuring the safety of their living and working environments. In addition to highlighting the need to adopt and update building codes, Building Safety Month celebrates the professionals who ensure these standards are met year-round.

This year's theme is "Mission Possible," with a push towards getting people involved in all aspects of building safety. Throughout the month, PDSD invites Tucson residents to help spread the word about building safety by utilizing resources from the ICC and sharing safety tips. Each week will focus on a separate aspect of building safety:

Week One (May 1–4): "Understanding the Mission"

  • Learn about the disciplines of building safety here.
  • See how building codes help protect all aspects of your home here.

Week Two (May 5—11): "Preparing a Building Safety Plan"

Week Three (May 12—18): "Learning from the Pros"

  • Who We Are: Building Officials (Juan Garcia III, Clayton Trevillyan, Matthew Carlton)
    • A Day in the Life of Building Official Juan Garcia III:
      • As the Administrator of the Building Safety Division, I meet with our team of 30 to discuss ways we can educate ourselves and our customers on the what and the whys of the building codes and generally how we can better serve the public.
      • We continue to refine the Review Lanes and make other process improvements to simplify our requirements for our customers as much as possible.
      • We meet with individuals, contractors, or development groups to answer questions, discuss their issues with specific projects, and work to help them succeed—everything from someone's new garage to a theater expansion to a new commercial building.
      • We coordinate with other agencies, including Tucson Fire and Code Enforcement, to address building safety issues and work with them to find solutions.
  • Who We Are: Building Plans Examiners (Bob Sherry, Dan SantaCruz, Ken VanKarsen, Jeremy Hamblin, Justin Eder, Mark Masek)
    • A Day in the Life of Building Plans Examiner Mark Masek:
      • I generally start my day by catching up on emails, phone messages, and MS Teams messages, and then handle tasks like adding review fees for residential electrical reconnect permits or Certificate of Occupancy requests.
      • After looking through the permit queue, I generally find permits needing further examination. I may determine that certain plans need more detail and inform the customer what needs to be included for their permit to be processed. I would then include that information in a comment letter for them to review.
      • Throughout the day, I might be called to the counter to discuss plan review comments for projects, such as converting a retail space into a Hookah Bar. In these instances, I explain the code requirements and common issues to help customers improve their plans.
      • I will typically consult with the Building Official about processing specific permit types, such as Factory Built Building permits, and resolving unusual cases.
      • A good portion of my day is also spent collaborating with colleagues on code compliance issues and conducting detailed plan reviews for complex projects. These may include determining the structural calculations and accessibility requirements for expanding and remodeling an existing movie theater or determining the code compliance of wheelchair-turning options for circular and T-shaped spaces.
  • Who We Are: Building Inspectors
    • Why Our Building Inspectors Love What They Do:

      Ernie Stevens: "Helping out 'do it yourself' homeowners."
      Salvador Carrazco: "Building a safe residential community."
      Gustavo Armenta: "Making sure homeowners are getting quality work."
      Eardis Adams: "I take pride in being a wealth of knowledge to the homeowners and contractors and just being helpful all around. Watching a piece of property go from dirt to finished product."
      Tony Guasp: "I enjoy the customer service side of the job and going one step further to help."

  • Who We Are: Building Permit Specialists and Planning Technicians
    • A Day in the Life:
      • From the start of the day until the end, Planning Techs put trade permits in review while Permit Specialists check for code compliance. The same process applies to all commercial and residential permits as well, a task that never seems to end!
      • Planning Techs handle customer inquiries via email and phone. Meanwhile, Permit Specialists interact with customers face-to-face at the service counter, addressing their questions and needs.
      • Planning Techs ensure that all necessary reviews are completed, conditions are satisfied, and fees are paid before issuing permits.
      • Permit Specialists verify that all inspections are completed, conditions are met, and fees are paid before issuing Certificates of Occupancy or Temporary Certificates of Occupancy.
      • Both Planning Techs and Permit Specialists work to ensure that permits move smoothly through the system, ensuring timely processing and minimal delays.

Week Four (May 19—25): "Engaging Your Community"

Learn how the Resilient Southwest Building Code Initiative aims to make Tucson more energy efficient and climate resilient here.

Week Five (May 26—31): "Celebrating Success in Building Safety"

 

The International Code Council provides codes, standards, and solutions to promote safe, affordable, and sustainable buildings and communities. For more information about Building Safety Month, visit the ICC's website.

 

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