WSTBO Code Division Director to Speak with Supervisors and Mayors

On May 29, WSTBO brought Codes Division Director Ron Piester to Chautauqua County to speak with supervisors and mayors.  From WSTBO attending were John Monaco, Charles Smith, Don Kaynor, and Randy Woodbury.  The report is below:


A few of those attending the May 29 meeting of supervisors and mayors are, from left, Fredonia Mayor Michael Sullivan, Sheridan Supervisor John Walker, New York State Codes Division Director Ron Piester, and John Monaco, Fredonia’s chief code enforcement officer and president of Western Southern Tier Building Officials.

Codes Director Piester addresses County Supervisors and Mayors

Ron Piester is a registered architect who comes from a family of builders.  He can draw a new house with T-square and he can build it with a framing square.  Mr. Piester brings a wealth of real-world perspective as New YorkState’s Director of the Department of State Codes Division.

Speaking at the monthly meeting of ChautauquaCounty’s town supervisors and village and city mayors, Mr. Piester framed the responsibility and reasons for effective code enforcement in each jurisdiction.

With National Building Safety Week just a few weeks past, he reminded the government leaders that building codes are safety codes, that while police and fire departments are “first responders” to disaster, code enforcement officials have been nationally recognized as “first preventers” to thwart disasters.

“When a building is built correctly, nothing happens – just as it should be,” Mr. Piester said.  He stressed that well-constructed buildings are good foundations for economic development, because current codes require energy-saving construction, promote construction with recycled materials, and result in buildings that are long-lasting.

Hitting on an issue locally highlighted, Mr. Piester asked, “Do Amish buildings need to meet building code standards?”  His answer was, “Yes, there are no exceptions based on religious beliefs, but how do we deal with this?”

Mr. Piester said that for issues like this, the codes division regional engineers look at two approaches.  The first is to educate all builders, Amish included, to understand the safety specifics of building codes and to help them adjust their buildings to meet the codes.  The second option is to apply for variance from specifics of the building code on a case-by-case basis.

ChautauquaCounty’s regional engineer is in Buffalo.  He can be contacted through the Albany main office of the codes division, and his contact information is on the website for the Western Southern Tier Building Officials (, the association of code officials in and near ChautauquaCounty that arranged for Mr. Piester’s visit here.

Mr. Piester explained to the supervisors and mayors that the state-wide uniform code began in 1984 following some disasters in the country.  New York’s building safety codes are now based on the model codes of the International Code Council, and each municipality is required by state law to locally enforce the uniform code.

Mr. Piester acknowledged that proper code enforcement can be costly, but is “money well spent” for each community.  Safety, good insurance ratings, and a strong base for economic development are areas where code enforcement serves the community, and the state as a whole, according to Piester.

Saying the state codes division’s mission was to help local enforcement officials stay educated on increasingly complex construction methods and new materials, and to help officials perform their duties effectively and efficiently, Mr. Piester offered personal help.  He left his cell phone number with all supervisors and mayors, suggesting that they contact him immediately if they need assistance or advice from codes division experts.

Sheridan Supervisor John Walker thanked Mr. Piester for the presentation and said he hoped all supervisors and mayors were working well with their code enforcement officers.  “I’m sure happy with mine,” Mr. Walker said.

WSTBO President John Monaco said he was very pleased that the codes division director traveled from Albany to visit ChautauquaCounty where several sensitive code enforcement issues have made recent headlines.  Mr. Monacoencouraged all municipalities to have their code officials join and participate in WSTBO so the productive dialog could continue.

WSTBO is the local affiliate of the International Code Council and the New York State Building Officials Conference.  It conducts monthly meetings, often with certified training.  Additional information and applications are online at

Building Safety Week: Where You Live, Work And Play

Building Safety Week: Where You Live, Work And Play

5/2/2008 - To the Readers’ Forum (published in the Post-Journal): America will celebrate Building Safety Week from May 5 through 11. The theme is ‘‘Building Safety: Where You Live, Work and Play.’’ The Western Southern Tier Building Officials Association is participating this year. First observed in 1980, Building Safety Week annual raises public awareness of critical safety issues affecting every person, regardless of age or occupation. These entail the structural soundness of the buildings where we live and work, reliability of fire prevention and suppression systems, plumbing and mechanical systems and energy efficiency and sustainability.Inspectors, plan reviewers and others in the Western Southern Tier Building Officials Association work to ensure the safety of the structures in which all of us live, work, attend school, worship and play. These officials provide the first line of defense against building disasters. We are silent, but vigilant guardians who work daily to ensure safety in the built environment.The Western Southern Tier Building Officials Association are members of the International Code Council. The sponsor of Building Safety Week, the Code Council develops the most widely used building safety and fire prevention codes in the nation.    

-- John Monaco, president, Western Southern Tier Building Officials Association

WSTBO Helps Bring Codes Director to County

WSTBO helps bring codes director to county, promotes code enforcement at home show, and sponsors training on manufactured homes


Western Southern Tier Building Officials (WSTBO), the association of building and zoning code enforcement officers in and nearChautauquaCounty, has several important activities scheduled during May.

First, the association will be represented at the Home and Garden Show on May 9, 10, and 11 at the County Fairgrounds in Dunkirk. WSTBO members will be explaining that home improvements are encouraged but must be done in compliance with state codes.  Special emphasis is on home swimming pools as much stricter safety regulations – for fences, alarms, electrical protection, and anti-suction plumbing – are now in effect.

Next, WSTBO is sponsoring six credit-hours of state-certified training on manufactured homes on May 21 in Fredonia.  Manufactured homes were once commonly referred to as “trailers” then “mobile homes,” but new technologies and comprehensive federal regulations have improved their construction and their image.

Training information and registration forms are available at, the association’s official website.  Attendance is open to all enforcement officers, design professionals and contractors, but class size is limited to 50, so please register early with payment of $40 for WSTBO members and $50 for non-members.

Finally for May, WSTBO has arranged for Director Ron Piester, RA, the head of the New York State Codes Division, to meet with Chautauqua County’s town supervisors and village and city mayors on May 29.  The county code enforcement officers asked Mr. Piester to help with a continually productive dialog and teamwork approach to code enforcement and code understanding.

In addition to the diplomatic visit from Codes Director Piester, all municipalities in the county will soon receive an invitation letter from WSTBO President John Monaco, the chief inspection officer in Fredonia.  The invitation will encourage all jurisdictions to have their code enforcement officers join and participate in WSTBO functions, where open and polite discussions are expected to lead to shared understandings

WSTBO recognizes that codes and code enforcement sometimes appear difficult, but believes that with all officials working together to follow state-mandated safety codes, our synergy will save lives and protect property.

Photo Caption:  New York’s Codes Division Director, Ron Piester, RA, is pictured on the left when officials from the International Codes Council recently presented WSTBO President John Monaco, right, with a plaque honoring code enforcement officials in Chautauqua County.  Director Piester will meet with supervisors and mayors in the county on May 29.

CONTACT:  WSTBO President John Monaco, 679-2313

For Immediate Release May 2, 2008, to Observer and PJ by email

Western Southern Tier Building Officials Honored by International Code Council

wstbo icc dos 2008
Press Release to Post-Journal and Observer, 1/24/08 (by email)

Western Southern Tier Building Officials Honored by International Code Council

At their first monthly meeting of 2008, the Western Southern Tier Building Officials (WSTBO) received recognition from the International Code Council (ICC) for “dedication to enhancing public safety through the promotion of effective administration and enforcement of building regulations.”

ICC vice president for state and local government relations, Dorothy Harris, presented the award plaque to WSTBO president John Monaco, the chief inspection officer in Fredonia.  In addition to WSTBO members – who are the code enforcement officers for the cities, villages, and towns in and nearChautauquaCounty – officials from the codes division of New York’s Department of State were present.

WSTBO officers for 2008 are president John Monaco, vice president Chuck LaBarbera of the Town of Evans and Village of Angola, secretary and web administrator Randy J. Woodbury of the Town of Ellicott, and treasurer Allan Zurawski of the City of Dunkirk.  Melanie Eddy is the chair for WSTBO educational programs.

Association information and a public forum on codes are online at

Photo Caption:  WSTBO president John Monaco holds the tribute awarded by ICC vice president Dorothy Harris, second from left.  Officials from the codes division of New York’s Department of State flank Mr. Monaco and Ms. Harris.


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