Building Safety Month!

History of Building Safety Month

For the last 37 years the worldwide Members of the ICC have celebrated advances in constructing safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient buildings and homes. The ongoing support of Building Safety Month and the important role code officials play in public safety in the built environment comes from the President of the United States, governors, mayors, county executives and other government officials and construction industry professionals. The Building Safety Month campaign helps to improve public safety by increasing awareness about how building codes and code officials improve and protect the places where we live, learn, work, worship and play.

Watch the video from the Director of the Building Safety Department discussing the importance of building safety!


This year’s theme is Code Officials— Partners in Community Safety and Economic Growth.

Weekly Themes

WEEK ONE // May 1-7, 2017
Mentoring the Next Generation of Building Professionals

WEEK TWO // May 8-14, 2017
Building Design Solutions for All Ages

WEEK THREE // May 15-21, 2017
Manage the Damage – Preparing for Natural Disasters

WEEK FOUR // May 22-28, 2017
Investing in Technology for Safety, Energy & Water Efficiency

Who Needs Building Codes?

All communities need building codes to protect their citizens from disasters like fires, weather-related events and structural collapse. Model building codes are society’s best way of protecting homes, offices, schools, manufacturing facilities, stores and entertainment venues. Code officials work day in and day out to keep the public safe. Building Safety Month is a month-long celebration of all aspects of building safety that helps families, employers and leaders understand and appreciate the best practices that keep the places where we live, work and play, safe.

What are Building Codes?

Building regulation in the United States began in the late 1800s when major cities began to adopt and enforce building codes in response to large fires in densely populated urban areas. The primary intent of early building codes was to reduce the fire risk, but over time, their scope has broadened. Today, building codes are sets of regulations that address structural integrity, fire resistance, safe exits, lighting, ventilation, and construction materials. They specify the minimum requirements to safeguard the health, safety, and general welfare of building occupants.


Building Safety Month: Week OneMentoring the Next Generation of Building Professionals

Meeting the Need for Trained Building Professionals

The construction industry is experiencing a mass retirement of skilled professionals; one study indicates that over the next 15 years the industry will experience a loss of 80 percent of the existing skilled workforce. Employers are seeking qualified building trade professionals to fill the positions of retiring employees and will be vying to hire the best of the best to reinforce their decreasing workforce. Trained professionals are needed in the building industry to prevent a major job shortage in the workforce.

In addition to learning about construction, engineering and architecture, the future workforce needs to become knowledgeable about the building codes to ensure the very best, resilient buildings. ICC and industry partners are providing training and mentoring about the latest design, technology and innovations in the codes through high schools, colleges and career training programs.

Please visit the International Code Council’s Website for more information:

Week One // May 1–7, 2017

Building Safety Month: Week TwoBuilding Design Solutions for All Ages

Data from the United States Census Bureau show that there are 76.4 million baby boomers. These 76.4 million baby boomers represent close to one-quarter of the estimated U.S. population of 320 million.

Many baby boomers are nearing or entering their retirement years and making decisions about where they will live when they retire. According to a survey conducted by AARP, 89 percent of the 50-and-older population like their current homes and intend to remain in them for as long as possible. But aging in place is not just about the home.  The aging of the population will affect every interior environment—private, commercial and public.  For example,

  •  Hospitality – restaurants, hotels and motels will need to be accessible
  • Workplace – offices, retail stores and other work spaces will need to provide adequate lighting, seating, technology, task areas and quiet places for older workers
  • Healthcare – increased need for outpatient and in-home care, accommodation for caretakers and caregivers
  • Retail – stores will need to be accessible and accommodate individuals using assistive devices
  • Multihousing/multiuse – growing demand for livable communities and urban complexes with easy access to health care, entertainment, shopping, etc.

Please visit the International Code Council’s Website for more information:

Week Two // May 8–14, 2017

Building Safety Month: Week ThreeManage the Damage — Preparing for Natural Disasters

Prepare Your Family

Making sure your family is prepared for any natural disaster is important. Below are some of the steps you can take to prepare your family and protect your home from natural disasters. Your actions can ensure that no matter what Mother Nature brings, you, your family and your community will be resilient.

Here are a few tips to follow from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes – (FLASH®) when preparing your family for any emergency.

  • Develop a family disaster plan that includes a list of food and water supplies needed for each member of your family and supplies for your pets. Make copies of important documents like insurance policies, the deed to your home, and other personal papers, important phone numbers and a home inventory. Create a checklist of important things to do before, during and after a disaster.
  • Review your evacuation route and emergency shelter locations with your family. Options for evacuation would include staying with friends and relatives, seeking commercial lodging, or staying in a mass care facility operated by disaster relief groups in conjunction with local authorities.
  • Taking shelter is critical in times of disaster. Sheltering in place is appropriate when conditions require that you seek protection in your home, place of employment, or other location where you are when disaster strikes.

Review your plan regularly. If you make changes that affect the information in your disaster plan, update it immediately.

Visit America’s PrepareAthon! to learn more about how to prepare for earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and winter storms. Help prepare your family and community by Taking Action to Prepare.

Protect Your Home

The power of these natural disasters can be overwhelming. While you can’t necessarily stop natural disasters from happening, there are steps you can take to increase your home’s chance of survival, even in the face of the worst Mother Nature can dish out.

Build to Code

Although you have little control over the occurrence of hazards in your community, mitigation efforts such as building code adoption and enforcement is one of the strongest strategies jurisdictions can take to protect a community against the effects of natural hazards. Mitigation increases occupant health and safety during a disaster, protects the local tax base, ensures continuity of essential services, and supports more rapid recovery from disasters.

The development and widespread adoption of building codes is beneficial in that it has created a uniform regulatory environment in which design professionals and contractors are held to a set of standards adopted by and applicable to the jurisdiction in which they work. More importantly, building codes provide you, your family, and your community protection in the event of a natural disaster.

Please visit the International Code Council’s Website for more information:

Week Three // May 15–21, 2017

Building Safety Month: Week FourInvesting in Technology for Safety, Energy & Water Efficiency

Science and Technology Lead the Way

Science and technology are leading the way for designing and constructing safe, efficient, and resilient homes and buildings. Up to date building safety codes and standards enable the technology to be incorporated into the buildings while ensuring safety for lives, properties and investments. So whether you’re considering renovating, remodeling, or building from the ground up, look for the latest in technology and make sure it is based on the codes and standards that put safety and efficiency first.

The Codes Protect Your Investment

The biggest investment most people will ever make is when they buy a home. Homes represent security, a place where people will live, raise their families, and share life with others. Whether you own or rent a home, following the building codes during construction or remodeling can help protect your health and safety, and your investment as well.

The building codes include research from experts that help ensure every phase of the construction process is done correctly. In addition to helping make your home safe, the building codes can also help make your home more energy efficient, use less water, and conserve resources.

If your construction project does not comply with the codes adopted by your community, the value of your investment could be reduced. Property insurers may not cover work done without permits and inspections. If you decide to sell a home or building that has had modifications without a permit, you may be required to tear down the addition, leave it unoccupied, or make costly repairs.

A property owner who can show that code requirements were strictly and consistently met––as demonstrated by a code official’s carefully maintained records––has a strong ally if something happens to trigger a potentially destructive lawsuit. Your permit also allows the code official to protect the public by reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction and ensuring public health, safety, and welfare. By following code guidelines, the completed project will meet minimum standards of safety and will be less likely to cause injury to you, your family, your friends, or future owners, plus you’ll benefit from the best energy efficiency construction techniques that will continue to pay you back for the life of your home.

Invest wisely in your home or remodeling project. It’s a smart investment to build and remodel your home to the latest codes.

Please visit the International Code Council’s Website for more information:

Rain Barrel Sales

Are you looking for rain barrels in Wilmington? We have two great rain barrels to choose from!

Short Stack

Our 60 gallon barrel – Special Price of $90.00 (Normal Retail Price $119.95)

60 gallon barrel

 Tall Stack

Our 80 gallon barrel – Special Price of $110.00 (Normal Retail Price $139.95)


Short Stack and Tall Stack are available for purchase and pick up on the 2nd Thursday of each month between 9:00am and 4:30pm.

To pick up and pay by cash, check, or credit card visit:

New Hanover Soil & Water Conservation District
230 Government Center Drive, Suite 100
Wilmington, NC 28403
Phone (910) 798-7130


The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners proclaimed May 2017 to be Building Safety Month. New Hanover County is the only Jurisdiction in North Carolina with a Building Safety Month Proclamation! Please see the proclamation and celebrate Building Safety Month with New Hanover County Building Safety Department.






Hans has been selected as Employee of the Week due to embracing this weeks theme of: Mentoring the next generation of Building Professionals. He is currently providing mentoring to most of the Inspectors to improve their proficency in applying the codes. He is also currently mentoring and providing training to our Plan Review Staff. Providing leadership in the cross-training of Inspectors in multiple trades is also part of his focus.

Nicholas Gadzekpo, Director of Building Safety with Employee of the Week Hans Schult, Building Code Compliance Chief.



Edward McCaleb, Senior Code Compliance Official, has a strong passion for building design solutions for persons of all ages and; particularly, for the elderly populace.

Edward’s passion led him to organize a regional building code training seminar in April 2017 on the Accessibility Required for Persons with Disabilities. Edward invited architects, engineers, inspectors and code officials, all from New Hanover County and from neighboring counties, to participate in the seminar. Edward is well-versed in the building code and performs plan reviews for the County. Edward’s architectural background and his versatility in applying the plumbing code, allows him to seek solutions to help design professionals who are challenged by the demands of the building codes, and particularly, in the arena of accessibility design. The director has personally witnessed Edward probe a design for a swimming pool; where Edward even noted accessibility provisions to the architect and further, inquired from the Building Code Office of the North Carolina Department of Insurance – and the Building Code Office concurred with Edward’s findings and conclusions. The items noted in Edward’s review could have been easily missed elsewhere but not in New Hanover County thanks to him, even though the original designer missed the requirement. And because Edward received the validation from the State as regarding the correction needed for the design, something that Edward knew all along; the project was able to move forward to include a safety feature for persons with disabilities. This second week of Building Safety Month; he along with his supervisor are also visiting the Senior Resource Center to dialog with Senior Citizens and collect valuable information on how user-friendly houses can become for the senior population.

Nicholas Gadzekpo, Building Safety Director with Employee of the Week Edward McCaleb, Plan Review Code Official.



Edward McCaleb educating Seniors at the Senior Resource Center about Building Safety.


Nicholas Gadzekpo, Building Safety Department Director teaching the importance of building safely at the NHC Myrtle Grove Library.

Nicholas Gadzekpo, Building Safety Department Director is helping to build a safe building at the NHC Myrtle Grove Library.


Nicholas Gadzekpo, Building Safety Department Director is mentoring our future designers at the NHC Myrtle Grove Library.

*The children in the pictures are Caleb Barker and Elijah White, their parents are Jen Barker and Paul & Becky White.

Robin Basinger, Plumbing Code Official doing outreach at Lowes Home Improvement.

230 Government Center Drive, Suite 110 • Wilmington, NC 28403
Planning & Land Use: Phone 910-798-7165 • Fax 910-798-7053
Building Safety: Phone 910-798-7308 • Fax 910-798-7811
Engineering: Phone 910-798-7139 • Fax 910-798-7051