Exploring Building Safety: Insights from ICC Region I Radio with Stuart Tom

You won’t want to miss the latest episode of ICC Region I Radio, where host Tim Spears chats with Stuart Tom, President of the Board of Directors for the International Code Council (ICC). In this episode, Stuart shares his extensive knowledge and experience in building and fire safety, providing valuable insights into the evolving world of building codes and standards. Whether you’re a building official, a fire marshal, or simply interested in creating safer communities, this podcast episode is a must-listen. Let’s dive into some of the key takeaways and highlights from their conversation.


The Journey of a Building Safety Advocate


Stuart Tom’s career is evidence to his dedication and excellence in the field of building and fire safety. Starting with an engineering background, Stuart transitioned from local building departments to become a chief building official and eventually a fire marshal. His career highlights the importance of a holistic approach to safety, spanning from local to national levels. Stuart emphasizes the collaborative nature of his work, involving various directors and the broader safety community to address complex issues effectively.


Emerging Trends in Building Safety


The field of building safety is constantly evolving, driven by technological advancements and new materials. During the podcast, Stuart and Tim discuss several emerging trends that are shaping the future of building safety:

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI is becoming increasingly relevant in building safety, offering new ways to predict and mitigate risks.
  2. Lithium-Ion Batteries: attention to the fire risks associated with lithium-ion batteries. Education and awareness are crucial in addressing these challenges.
  3. Wildfires and Dense Construction: As wildfires become more frequent and construction becomes denser, building codes must adapt to ensure safety in these environments.


List: Top 5 Emerging Trends in Building Safety


  1. Integration of Artificial Intelligence
  2. Addressing Lithium-Ion Battery Risks
  3. Adapting to Wildfires and Dense Construction
  4. Performance-Based Building Codes
  5. Enhanced Collaboration Across Sectors


The Role of Collaboration


One of the central themes of Stuart’s discussion is the importance of collaboration. Building safety is not a solo endeavor; it requires the combined efforts of building officials, fire marshals, engineers, and the community. Stuart highlights several ways in which collaboration is vital:

  • Code Development: The ICC brings together stakeholders from various sectors to develop comprehensive and effective building codes.
  • Education and Training: Ongoing education and training for professionals ensure that they are equipped with the latest knowledge and skills.
  • Mentorship: Encouraging and mentoring young professionals in the industry is crucial for the future of building safety.


Current Issues and Innovations


Stuart and Tim also delve into the current challenges and innovations in the field. They discuss the need for updated building codes to keep pace with new technologies and materials. For instance, the integration of electric vehicles into our infrastructure requires a reevaluation of building designs to accommodate the heavy batteries and potential fire risks. Additionally, the use of performance-based approaches in building codes allows for more flexibility and innovation, ensuring that buildings are both safe and sustainable.

International Perspective and Future Outlook


The ICC’s influence extends beyond national borders, impacting building practices worldwide. Stuart reflects on the international scope of the ICC’s work and its role in promoting safe building practices globally. He foresees a future where building codes continue to evolve, driven by technological advancements and international collaboration.

Watch the Full Episode on YouTube