In 1972, the Finger Lakes Building Officials Association was born when a small group of local building inspectors began meeting to discuss areas of common interests, including construction techniques and code enforcement. In those days, there were no statewide building or fire codes and local officials were left to enforce voluntary standards as best as they could with no formal training in the area. Even then, the small group of visionaries saw that it would be in the best interests of their fledgling organization to associate with a larger, statewide organization and the Finger Lakes Chapter of the New York State Building Officials Conference was created. Many of the association's members have held NYSBOC office over the years, keeping its commitment to be an active participant.

From its modest beginnings, the association grew rapidly over two years, and in 1974, the first annual educational conference was held, offering an opportunity for code enforcement officials to further their education in the what was becoming a profession of code administration and enforcement. The conference has endured to this day, and has supported a continually increasing enrollment to over 300 students each year.

In 1981, the state legislature adopted the first ever statewide "uniform" building and fire prevention codes, and FLBOA was there to spread the word to the code official community. With virtually all New York State local governments establishing code offices, the organization continued to grow and became a truly regional organization, serving both the rural and urban code official communities. The annual educational conference continued to develop to address the new code when it became effective in 1984.

Wishing to promote an organization of code officials that would endure long after the original creators had left, the association filed articles of incorporation in 1987, and became the Finger Lakes Building Officials Association, Inc.

One of the association's code enforcement members and one of its strongest supporters, Jim Sebaste, was also an educator by training. Jim was instrumental in developing the educational qualities of the annual conference, always encouraging us to become more professional. When Jim passed on, the association honored his memory by creating the James R. Sebaste Scholarship Fund, devoted to assisting members and their families who are furthering their education in an area related to code enforcement.

During the tumultuous years of the 1990s, when monies dried up and the Codes Division underwent major layoffs, FLBOA worked diligently through the region's elected officials and appointed state officials to assist in helping to fix the myriad of problems. Many meetings with the newly appointed Deputy Secretary of State, John Hasper, took place and many of the code enforcement community's recommendations were adopted during the successful reorganization of the Codes Division.

That was then. In January 2003 the state brought another new code to the enforcement community; this one based on a national model. The state has encouraged code officials to become more professional and to get active in code organizations in New York State, and on the national level. The Finger Lakes Building Officials, Inc., is answering the call! Students attending monthly meetings and the annual educational conference are accessing the latest, up to date information available on the administration and enforcement of the new codes; Representatives of the association actively participate at the national level of the International Codes Council (ICC).

Recent FLBOA initiatives include the creation of this web site accessible to the entire code enforcement community and general public (; the continuation of a separate program to educate design professionals in the new codes, an initiative which was begun in 2001; and a continuing effort to include the entire code enforcement community within the association's territory of 9 counties.

Won't you join the ever-challenging fraternity of code officials, by becoming a member of our association? We'd be proud to have you!

New York State News

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