Right now, we are also working on adopting the new building codes. We started reviewing them before I went on maternity leave, and just now wrapped up the review and recommendations with the Board of Appeals. Monday, I gave a presentation to City Council on the new codes. I will probably also attend the next two City Council meetings and answer additional questions they have, and then hopefully they'll adopt the new ordinance in June.
May is Building Safety Month. So on Monday, I (and the fire marshal) accepted a proclamation from the Mayor declaring May as Building Safety Month. There are different topics each week, such as water/pool safety, fire safety, storm safety, and energy efficiency. I was also interviewed for a 5 minute piece on our local public access TV channel.
A lot has changed in the last two months. I feel like I am making a difference in our community. I wasn't prepared for my job though, as I wasn't mentored by my previous supervisor, and so I feel like I am reinventing the wheel sometimes because there isn't a procedure manual.
Take for example, yesterday... About a week ago, one of my inspectors approached me about a property maintenance situation at a house. He showed me photographs of the house being completely overgrown by vines, and the yard unmowed. He showed me photographs of the roof caving in in some areas and covered by a tarp to prevent rain from causing further damage. Then he showed me photographs of an extension cord running from a neighbor's house to give this house some power. And of the inside of the house, where the floors are so rotted they are about to give way. A person still lives in this house. An old man, probably in his 70s. The house is not fit for living in. So we posted it as an unsafe structure and gave the old man a week and a half to find a new place to live. His deadline is Monday. No one prepared me for this part of my job. Where an old man comes in scared that I am going to kick him out to the streets because his house is unsafe. No one prepared me for having a conversation with a person who reminds me of my grandpa, who has tears streaming down his face because he has no place to go. He is working with senior services to find him a place to live, but yesterday was a state holiday and he hasn't received an update on available housing for him. He has no phone. There are storms moving in this weekend, it is raining as I type this, and I'm concerned for his safety. I'm scared he may get shocked from touching a wet extension cord, his only source of power. I'm ashamed that I don't know how to help him.
I never imagined 10 years ago, that as a licensed architect I would be a building official. I take my job very seriously, and health, safety and welfare are my top responsibilities. It's easy to review plans and make sure the design is code compliant. It's easy to answer questions on our codes and ordinances. It's not so easy to sleep at night filled with anxiety. I hope this next week we are able to find him a place to live.
I know I haven't written much in the last several months. I have a lot less alone time now caring for baby A. I would like to continue to share about my job on my blog, as well as share about baby A and our country life. Bear with me.