Eirene Knott has been with BRR for 6 years and serves as our Director of Code Services. To say she is well-known in building code circles is an understatement – Eirene has more than 25 certifications in various building code specialty practices. She is a certified Fire Marshal, a Master Code Professional, and a Certified Building Official through the International Code Council. Her experience and vast knowledge of building code requirements is a critical component to our studios. Day to day, she works with all our client account teams to implement safe, building code-compliant solutions.
We’ll be sharing more from Eirene in future blog posts, and wanted to start this series off by doing a quick Q&A with Eirene.
BRR: What first motivated you to pursue a career in building codes?
Eirene: One of my college professors served as a Building Official, and the discussions we had in his class were always interesting. I then had a class where we were assigned to do a code analysis on an existing building, and learned that I enjoyed the challenge of researching code requirements. My first job out of college was as a building inspector, and as time passed, I began to delve into aspects of the various codes, and began obtaining certifications.
Why is continual education important to you as a code professional?
It’s about being able to understand more of the “why” of code language. I make it a point to learn at least one thing from each class I take – there is no such thing as too much education or training. Change is one constant in life, and codes change, too. Continual education helps me keep up with changes, and gives me opportunities to meet other code officials and get different perspectives on the issues we each face.
How have you stayed passionate about working as a code professional and official throughout your career?
It’s always been my goal to continue growing and taking on new challenges throughout my career. I was a building inspector, then a plans examiner, and my next goal was to become a Certified Building Official. While I was on that path, I earned more than 20 certifications and became a Master Code Professional.
After becoming a building official, I focused on providing team members with the proper training and skillsets to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. I became more focused on the needs of others, which gave me a totally different perspective on code enforcement; it became a matter of enforcing the intent of the code to provide safety for all parties.
When the position at BRR was advertised several years ago, I saw it as an opportunity to help both designers and clients form a better understanding of building codes, as well as challenge myself to learn more. I thought I knew a lot before I came to work at BRR, but I think I’ve learned more about codes since joining the BRR team than I did working for nearly 20 years in the public sector! Being in an environment that pushes me to learn about various codes across the country has been one of the greatest challenges of my career.
You recently added ‘International Firestop Council Third-Party Firestop Inspector’ to your resume – what was the motivation behind this certification?
Curiosity has always gotten the better of me. Years ago, I had the chance to attend some firestop training at 3M’s facility in St. Paul, Minn., and I discovered this was yet another area of codes that I could quickly pick up and keep an interest in. Before I came to BRR, I taught a course at the Johnson County Contractor Licensing Program and was approached by the owners of a firestop installation company that encouraged me to begin providing third-party firestop inspection. I wanted to continue providing those services here at BRR, and knew it required a formal certification.
Eirene has already started putting her third-party firestop inspection certification to work for BRR’s team members and clients. She recently created a simplified guide that breaks down the three categories of the International Building Code’s fire-resistance-rated wall assemblies. Check back soon for Eirene’s breakdown of the key differentiators between fire partitions, barriers and walls.