May is Building Safety Month, and the Prince William County Department of Development Services partnered with the Virginia Building Code Officials Association (VBCOA) to kick things off with an event at the McCoart Government Complex. Representatives from elected officials, state officials and development services staff talked of the work county staff and partners do to keep buildings, and ultimately residents, in Prince William County safe.
David Beahm, vice president of the VBCOA — a statewide organization of building safety professionals that looks out for the health, safety and welfare of Virginia residents — said building codes allow everyone the safety they deserve in their homes and places of business. "We each come prepared each day to ensure the Commonwealth is safe for its residents and guests."
Cindy Davis, the deputy director of Building and Fire Regulations for the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, said Virginia leads the nation in building code development; and the county's Department of Development Services is among the most innovative in the state, with many of its code officials sitting on state and national code development committees. "Prince William … has sown the seeds for many successful code professionals, including providing the first code professional to be appointed to the Board of Housing and Community Development…. Policies like your project team format and expedited plan review ensure safety and supports growth and development."
Davis went on to thank those in the development service profession. "To all of the code professionals out there, I thank you all for what you do every single day. You are truly silent heroes, and I commend you."
Prince William Board of County Supervisor's Chairman Corey Stewart said when he became Chairman in 2006, he heard builders complain about the difficulty of doing business in Prince William County. Since then, Stewart said, the county has made strides in helping businesses succeed. "We came up with, what I believe, is a very good reformation of our building inspections and permitting process in Prince William County. As a result of that these years later, we are hearing throughout Virginia of the Prince William model of building permits and inspections. We hear this from builders that are working in other jurisdictions across Northern Virginia … I can't tell you how important it is, not just to public safety and keeping our citizens safe, but to our economic development efforts here in Prince William County and across Virginia, that we allow the business community to conduct their business in a safe way and in a way that does not unnecessarily impede their businesses."
Wade Hugh, the director of the county's Department of Development Services, thanked the staff for their work. "We really want to recognize everyone's efforts. It's your dedication. It's your commitment to the job; and that's the reason we have safe houses, safe businesses here in Prince William County. So, this is a thank you to you for your efforts."
More information about the Department of Development Services is available at www.pwcgov.org/dds.