Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: May 29, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development: Amanda Love,, (804) 371-7006

Governor Northam Designates May as Building Safety Month

Virginia ranked number two by Insurance Institute of Business and Home Safety for effectiveness of states’ residential building code

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam has issued a proclamation declaring May as Building Safety Month in Virginia. Today, the Governor recognized Virginia’s building and fire community professionals with a special ceremony held at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University and highlighted the importance of building and fire safety in creating vibrant and sustainable communities in the Commonwealth.

“Virginia has long been recognized as a national leader in the development of statewide building and fire codes, due, in large part, to the Commonwealth’s hardworking building and fire safety professionals and our government and industry partners,” said Governor Northam. “Strong and effective building safety standards are essential to maintaining secure structures and creating resilient communities, and my administration remains committed to ensuring the homes, schools, business, and buildings that Virginians depend on every day are built to keep us safe.

Virginia is beginning its three-year code development cycle for the 2018 Virginia codes, and in response to Governor Northam’s Executive Order Twenty-Four, the code development process will require each code change proposal submitted to include a “resiliency statement” indicating whether the proposal will increase or decrease resiliency and how. In addition, there will be a strong focus on building technology and innovation, as well as increasing energy efficiency in buildings.

“The work our building and fire community do every day is vital the safety of all that live, work, and raise families in Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Not only are building and fire regulations a matter of public safety, but they are also vital to the success of commerce and trade across the state by promoting reuse of materials and economic development.”

“The safety of Virginians is a top priority for this administration,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran. “We are dedicated to implementing smart regulations which protect our residents and move Virginia forward. We must continue to work together to cultivate efforts which support innovative and efficient building practices.”

In addition to presenting the Building Safety Month proclamation to community stakeholders, Governor Northam also recognized five Virginia high school and college students who received scholarships through the Building Safety Month Essay Contest. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), in partnership with the Virginia Building and Code Officials Association (VBCOA) and the Virginia Plumbing and Mechanical Inspectors Association (VPMIA), produce a student essay scholarship contest to highlight Building Code Safety Month. This year’s winners are:





First Place ($2,000)

Kyle Renaux

Bob Jones University


Second Place ($1,000)

Grace Beattie

Midlothian High School


Honorable Mention ($500)

Arden Floyd

Orange County High School


Honorable Mention ($500)

Kariyah Jones

James Madison University


Honorable Mention ($500)

Nathalie Williams

Broadway High School


Read the full proclamation below: 

By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution of Virginia in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:


WHEREAS, safeguarding the health, safety, and welfare of citizens is of paramount concern to all building safety professionals in Virginia; and

WHEREAS, protection is realized through the devotion and dedication of our Commonwealth’s first preventers: building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical and fire prevention regulators, the design community, and the construction industry, who work year-round to ensure that our buildings are affordable and safe; and

WHEREAS, Virginia building safety professionals create and influence our built environment through the consensus development and implementation of the highest quality codes; and

WHEREAS, our Commonwealth’s continuing efforts to maintain the highest quality construction with regards to safety, structural soundness, and sustainable construction methods, and allow the use of emerging technologies in the construction process give us confidence that structures throughout the Commonwealth are durable, reliable and will be the blueprint for the future; and

WHEREAS, Building Safety Month is sponsored by the International Code Council, and promoted statewide by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, to promote and inform the public about the critical and often little-known role of the Commonwealth’s first preventers and building safety professionals; and

WHEREAS, the theme for Building Safety Month, “No Code, No Confidence,” encourages all Virginians to raise awareness of the importance of safe and resilient construction, fire prevention, disaster mitigation, and new technologies in the construction industry; and

WHEREAS, Building Safety Month encourages appropriate steps everyone can take to ensure that the places where we live, learn, work, worship, and play are safe, and recognizes that countless lives have been saved due to the implementation of safety codes; and

WHEREAS, in observance of Building Safety Month, Virginians should consider the commitment to improve building safety and economic investment at home and in the community, and to acknowledge the essential services provided by Virginia’s building safety community in protecting lives and property;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize May 2019 as BUILDING SAFETY MONTH in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of our citizens.

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