Insight: A different approach to building code consulting

Insight: A different approach to building code consulting. Pardon Our dust.

Insight building code consulting was founded when Sherryn Hensley saw a need to open up the profession to workers with non traditional code backgrounds. She also saw a need to open up the field of expertise to provide compliance options for smaller projects and assist homeowners and small business owners navigate the path to code compliance with their local jurisdiction.

Sherryn was educated as an architect (B Evd and M Arch) and graduated from architecture school in the summer of 2001. Although she graduated with honors and had impressive internship experience, the field was very competitive as the construction industry had begun to slide. She recalls watching the World Trade Center towers fall live while streaming from a computer monitor in a small architectural office. The office fell silent. In addition to the obvious tragedy of loss of life, we know that the design industry was about to become more difficult than it already was. The work dried up and as the only employee, Sherryn was laid off a few weeks later.

In the wake of 911, an interesting thing occurred. While the design and construction industry was at a standstill, the State of Colorado decided to make a change to ensure that it’s buildings were safer. The trend shifted to provide jobs in code compliance. Sherryn was hired by a small code consulting firm to help them fulfill their plan review contract for the State Buildings program and she had mistakenly fallen into her chosen profession.

Sherryn’s background in architecture creates an understanding of the challenges inherent to code compliance from the design side. Her experience in working on the code compliance side, creates an understanding of the need for and rational behind building codes. Together she has a unique insight into the code compliance process and needs of both parties and is missional in her pursuit of a safe solution that does not affect the integrity of the design.

Sherryn knew what she loved to do, but had difficulty finding a good fit in the industry that would also provide a living wage. She became aware of opportunities to improve access to building code expertise by modernizing the model of code consulting and sectors of the construction industry that have been effectively ignored in regards to outreach and education in code compliance.

Sherryn has also identified a unique work force. She is personally aware of the tremendous talent drain the construction industry has experienced due to qualified architects and engineers suffering from chronic illness. She hopes to offer a flexible work environment where qualified persons in the design industry can earn a living wage in their chosen field by working a more flexible schedule that code review permits. She is also aware that careers in building inspection have historically not been presented to women as a prospective trade. Sherryn hopes to change that with her involvement in the Arvada Works program. In addition, Sherryn’s volunteer work with veterans who are at risk for homelessness has made her aware that Ft Carson alone releases over 400 soldiers every month. Veterans, including disabled veterans, would make an excellent addition to the field of building code compliance. Sherryn has been invited to speak about careers in the field as part of the TAP program and she looks forward to encouraging our nation’s heroes to consider a career in building codes.

Sherryn has had the privilege of working on some of the largest projects in the State of Colorado and has also enjoyed working on projects in Canada, Kazakhstan, and even Antarctica. She has worked on every type of building from hospitals to oil and gas control rooms, to jails, to semiconductor laboratories, to elementary schools and apartment buildings. She is currently branching out and looking at the code implications of “portable architecture” (shipping containers and tiny homes) and looks forward to assisting the pioneers in the latest building trend towards a path of code compliance.


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