When most of us enter a home or office building, we’re likely NOT thinking about whether it has enough fire exits. That job is up to folks like Stuart Crine (CRYN), Iowa’s Building Code Commissioner. This is Building Safety Week in Iowa and Crine wants folks to consider how they’d escape if there was a fire or some other emergency.

Crine says Building Safety Week sets aside time to recognize people at the state and local level who dedicate their lives to making buildings safer for the public, while raising awareness about safety issues like practicing fire drills. He says the importance of enforcing building codes is often overlooked until something catastrophic happens. Crine says all Iowans should take note of their surroundings and formulate exit plans.

Crine says it effects everyone, people who own their own homes, rent, live in high-rises or single-family dwellings. He says Iowans need to think ahead because once a disaster strikes, like a fire or severe weather, it’s too late to be considering how to get out of a home, school or office building. Crine says building codes address all aspects of the construction process, including: structural integrity, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing, as well as energy efficiency and property maintenance. He says we all share in the responsibility of making buildings safe — homeowners, builders, engineers, and especially the architects.

Crine says architects play a significant role in designing structures from the ground up, to make sure they’re structurally sound and contain all of the key safety elements, like sprinklers, fire alarms and adequate exits, in order to get out when there’s an emergency. He says by inspecting buildings during and after construction, his office helps ensure buildings across Iowa are safe places to live, work, play and learn.