A South Carolina State Senator, a New Mexico State Senator, and a New Jersey Assemblyman are recipients of the International Code Council’s first ever Elected Official of the Year Award. The honor recognizes elected governmental officials for their contribution to building safety. The award winners are South Carolina Senator Phil P. Leventis, New Mexico Senator Bernadette M. Sanchez, and New Jersey Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski.
“Without the support of government officials, codes could not be developed, adopted, or enforced,” ICC CEO Richard P. Weiland said. “There are many elected, public officials who play an important role in the process. We are honored during Building Safety Month to recognize State Senator Leventis, State Senator Sanchez, and Assemblyman Wisniewski for their contributions to public safety in the construction industry.”
Senator Leventis’ nomination noted the South Carolina State Senator fought attempts to block the adoption of building safety and fire prevention codes in the state, and was characterized as one of those policy makers willing to make political sacrifices to do the right thing.
In New Mexico, building inspector certifications were valid only in the jurisdiction that employed the inspector until Senator Sanchez wrote and sponsored legislation to recognize the certification statewide. That action allows jurisdictions to share limited resources, provide improved response times to plan review and permit inspections, and further consistency in code interpretation, according to her nomination.
Assemblyman Wisniewski is a staunch supporter of code enforcement professionals . He has sponsored legislation involving building safety, including a bill to mandate the installation of fire sprinklers in college dormitories. He also has sponsored bills supporting the mandatory use of construction department revenue for training.
Criteria for the award includes:
- Demonstrating a commitment to building code adoption and enforcement;
- Encouraging adoption of codes to improve building department administration and safer construction;
- Documenting an increase in code enforcement during an official’s tenure;
- Speaking publicly about the importance of adopting and enforcing the most recent building codes; and
- Standing up to lobbying efforts that oppose code adoption, enforcement, and standardization.
The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety, fire, prevention and energy efficiency, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. The International Codes also serve as the basis for construction of federal properties around the world, and as a reference for many nations outside the United States.