Building safety month focuses on homeowner safety tips. An online workshop helps homeowners plan for fire safety, disaster preparedness, and energy efficiency. Photo by Promise Yee
Building safety month focuses on homeowner safety tips. An online workshop helps homeowners plan for fire safety, disaster preparedness, and energy efficiency. Photo by Promise Yee

City spotlights Building Safety Month

OCEANSIDE — May is national Building Safety Month.

Rick Brown, Oceanside chief building official, said this year the city is reaching out to homeowners to provide them with information and safety tips.

Each week in May an important area of home safety is focused on through online workshops. Topics include fire safety, disaster preparedness, hazards safeguards and energy efficiency.

Online links can be accessed on the city website calendar, which connect homeowners to easy-to-understand videos and articles prepared by the International Code Council.

“There’s a whole variety of safety topics in easy-to-access text and videos to protect property and loved ones,” Brown said. “It’s in plain language, not a bunch of technical jargon like thousands of pages of codes.”

Brown said the importance of building safety became vividly clear with the recent outbreak of wildfires.

Safety tips that week coincidentally focused on safeguarding your home from fire.

Building Safety Month is held in spring when weather conditions can bring local Santa Ana winds, and hurricanes and tornadoes in other parts of the country.

The month also reminds homeowners to check their smoke detector batteries, and make sure their pool enclosures are secure before summer and will prevent accidental drowning.

Brown said the building safety division works year-round to ensure homes and office buildings are safe.

Last year in Oceanside 1,191 plan reviews were processed, 12,145 building inspections were performed and 2,940 permits were issued.

Building safety staff usually interacts with contractors and homeowners during a building permitting and inspection process, which Brown sees as an opportunity to guide builders, and make sure construction is up to code.

“Our responsibility is enforcing building safety and fire codes adopted by the state of California,” Brown said.

“We’re well-treated by the construction community. It’s easier to guide people than to write notices to fix things. We go out of way to be helpful.”

Brown carries some impressive credentials.

He is one of two Master Code Professionals on staff, and one of 36 in the state.

A Master Code Professional is the highest form of certification available in the building safety profession, and requires a minimum of 20 individual examinations to receive.

He also serves as an International Code Council Code of Honor Scholar, and votes on proposed code changes for the nation.

Brown said he has been working in the building safety field since the 1980s, and has seen the increase in building codes, which he sees as good measures.

“I can sleep well when I don’t see buildings exploding or collapsing,” Brown said. “The collective body of codes gives all of us the ability to live, sleep and shop in reasonable safety.”

California also has green code requirements that ensure all homes and office buildings constructed within the past 20 years and forward are energy efficient.

“There’s a definite benefit to it at the end user level,” Brown said.

In addition to online workshop links, the building safety division will make home safety flyers available at the Thursday Sunset Market.

Brown added the department welcomes questions from homeowners throughout the year.

“We highlight this effort one month, but it goes on year-round,” Brown said. “We look forward to anybody contacting us on building safety matters.”

The Oceanside building safety division can be reached at  (760) 435-4373.