AFFILIATE SPOTLIGHT: New Hampshire Building Officials Association
The Affiliate Spotlight is a new column designed to give readers a closer look at affiliate groups of NHMA. There are over 30 such groups comprised primarily of municipal officials serving a particular position, such a city and town clerks, assessors, health officers, road agents, etc. In this issue, we introduce the New Hampshire Building Officials Association.
TC: What is the mission/goals of the New Hampshire Building Officials Association?
NHBOA: Established in 1965, the purpose of the New Hampshire Building Officials Association is to promote education of building and life safety codes to its association members, non-member code officials, state and municipal government officials, and trades people involved in the construction industry.
TC: What are biggest challenges facing your professional group today?
NHBOA: The resistance by many special interest groups to maintaining updated building and life safety codes in New Hampshire. Budgetary constraints by municipalities that prevent local code officials from participating in training updates to coincide with a constantly evolving industry. Respect for the needs of building code and zoning code enforcement to ensure safe and pleasurable homes, workplaces and community environments.
TC: How has NHMA helped your professional group to do your job?
NHBOA: NHBOA has been a longtime affiliate member of NHMA and utilizes its association management services to keep our membership informed of association matters, training and legislation matters that affect building or life’s safety codes. As one of their larger affiliate groups, this is a significant undertaking as our Association holds monthly training meetings which involves meeting notices, registrations, CEUs, monthly financial statements, and data base management.
TC: What advice would you give someone who would like to follow in your professional footsteps? NHBOA: Education of how to properly interpret and administer building and life safety codes is an essential component to any successful code official. Professional communication skills, while still being empathetic to particular and sometimes unusual situations, is an important part of being a successful code official. Beyond the skills of a tradesperson, one needs to understand all facets of local government, building codes, state statutes, state construction laws, local zoning board and planning board functions. A building official/code enforcement officer will wear “many hats” to assist local residents.
TC: Given the opportunity, what changes would you make to the profession?
NHBOA: The education levels of many involved in the construction industry and building and life safety codes need to be elevated. This includes code officials, trade people and government officials that do not understand how code administration work and why particular codes have been instituted or amended.
TC: Anything else you would like to discuss about your affiliate group and its relationship with NHMA?
NHBOA: The support services received from NHMA is a large part of why NHBOA is successful. NHBOA is a professional association that is managed by a volunteer board of directors and like most associations the brunt of the work falls to those volunteers. Without the partnership and support from NHMA much of what NHBOA accomplishes each year would not be possible.