CCC helps fill coming building inspector gap

CCC graduate Brad Lawry recently aced the International Residential Building Code test after taking a course at CCC.

 

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Coconino Community College graduate Brad Lawry did an internship with the City of Flagstaff inspecting mostly residential buildings. After his internship, he spoke with CCC Construction and Technology Management Instructor Ken Myers about his experience.

 

“Ken told me about how they were revamping the International Residential Code class,” Lawry said. “That piqued my interest.”

 

The class, it turned out, was going to include the latest International Code Council codes on the books – the newly approved 2018 version, which would put CCC as one of the first colleges in the country to do so. Additionally, Coconino County is currently gearing up to update its codes to the 2018 version. The International Code Council updates the codes every three years, and jurisdictions that enforce the codes update their codes every six years. Coconino County currently uses the 2012 code. If approved by the Coconino County Board of Supervisors, the county is anticipating putting the 2018 code into place on July 1.

 

“CCC is the only place in the state teaching it,” Myers said. “It’s going to get students jobs, guaranteed.”

 

So, Lawry enrolled in the three-credit class that would give him certifications in the International Residential Codes, which are universally accepted as the industry standard now. And it comes at a time when the field is in an “epidemic” of losing code officers to retirements. Building inspectors are, and are going to be, in high demand.

 

“When the 2018 code came out, we jumped on it,” said Christopher Young, Chief Building Official for Coconino County and part-time instructor at CCC. “People about to enter the profession will immediately be a commodity because the whole state will be moving to it in the next six months to a year.”

 

Young, who is also on the Building Official Membership Council, is involved with an initiative that is designed to help higher education institutions prepare for the future, so he reached out to Myers at CCC.

 

“About 60 percent of the building inspectors will leave the profession in the next five years,” Young said. “And we don’t have people to fill these seats. It’s an epidemic at the local level, as we call it.”

 

Lawry said he appreciated that Young took the students through the whole book.

 

“It’s a hefty book and a good class,” Lawry said. “It’s not a thrilling read, but it’s got a lot of good stuff. Chris has been really great breaking it down and explaining why it’s in the book.”

 

Lawry was one of 11 who completed the class and tested for the certification in International Residential Code. The certification covers mechanical, plumbing, fuel and gas and more. He received a grade of 100 percent when he went in for his testing.

 

“I never saw anyone ace this test,” Young said. “So, it is impressive.”

 

Lawry said his hope is that his IRC certification will give him a leg up when applying for jobs locally. But even if there isn’t anything local just yet, the certification is “international” and can be taken nearly everywhere on the planet.

 

“It’s great because you’re not locked to a certain area,” Lawry said. “There are lots of opportunities.”

 

Although the test passed by Lawry is not the Residential Building Inspector Certification, it does qualify the student as being well-versed in the 2018 IRC. The ICC Residential Inspector test qualifies a student to be a certified inspector. Other trades, such as plumbing, mechanical, and electrical, have separate tests, and passing all of them qualifies a student to be a Combination Residential Inspector.

 

Young said that his ultimate vision is to help create a job pool with candidates with the help of CCC. A person out of high school, or who has a two-year degree with the certification, can expect a salary (based on a national average) as a building inspector to be about $50,000 right out of the gate. It’s a bit less in Coconino County.

 

“So, they’re good jobs, and this is a great career opportunity,” Young said.

 

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Category
Spotlight
Date
Monday, 11th June 2018
 
 

All Dates

  • Monday, 11th June 2018