5 Code Consulting Questions with Code Team Director Christopher
Posted by Valeria Macias
This week we sat down with Christopher Chwedyk, Director of Code, from our Code team and asked him a few questions regarding his code consultant experience.
1. How love have you been a code consultant and what is your area of expertise?
Hard to believe, but it’s officially been over 23 years. I’m sort of the go-to person for fire alarm and sprinkler issues as well as most of the topics covered in Chapters 7 and 9 of the building code, including hazardous uses, atrium exhaust, battery storage, special locking arrangements and emergency systems /generators. I’m also most familiar with the International Energy Conservation Code, Fire Code (currently serving my second term on the ICC Fire Code Action Committee), the Electrical Code (NFPA 70) and NFPA 101 Life Safety Code.
2. When working on an interior build-out what is the best approach with initial consulting? How does it differ from additions or new construction?
As alterations to existing buildings, it is helpful to be experienced with the Rehabilitation Code, and I have been a member of the ICC Existing Building Code Committee twice, so I look for where allowances are made that differ from the requirements for new construction.
3. If you had to give one piece of advice on the code consulting process, what would it be?
To me, code analysis is asking to proving geometry theorems - it is important to be able to show your thinking to others so that ideally they can follow it and agree that you must be right. A proof is just a formal way of justifying your answer. In a proof your goal is to use given information and facts that everyone agrees are true to show that a new statement must also be true.
4. Today, what is your biggest challenge and how are you solving it?
Our biggest challenge has always been providing insight on the importance of integrating codes and permits as a comprehensive and seamless service.
5. When you're not working, what do you enjoy doing with your space time?
I enjoy giving architectural tours for the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust at Robie House in Hyde Park and The Rookery downtown. I’ve also done some spoken word performances lately with the Hyde Park Community Players. I also enjoy reading biographies, attending both classical and jazz concerts, and am a film buff, reading about and studying movies and TV my entire life.