The New York State Building Officials Conference was formed in 1928 by a group of building officials who met informally to discuss mutual problems related to their work. It was in 1930 in Syracuse that the group formally organized electing James Armstrong of Yonkers its president. However, by 1931, the impact of the depression was being felt, and the organization did not meet again until June 1946, when some 100 building officials from all over the state answered the call to meet at the Seneca Hotel in Rochester to reconvene the Conference. A full slate of officers was elected, working committees established and efforts to form local chapters were begun. The Conference voted to affiliate with BOCA, the Building Officials and Code Administrators, a nationwide organization.
Our own Tri County Chapter, officially called the Orange-Catskill Chapter, was organized in the late 1950’s at a golf course in Middletown. For that we can thank Brother James Stewart of Middletown, host of the meeting, along with Earl Ferguson of Colonie, who was a past president of the State Conference. We must also credit for our existence and for the great expansion of the State Conference, Eugene Malone, a field construction engineer for the State, who helped so many of the present chapters throughout the state get organized.
It was rough going in the early years. Our Chapter would meet whenever possible in the Middletown City Hall basement, with only five or six members usually present. Efforts to attract new members seemed futile until was decided to hold daytime luncheon/meetings or various locations each month on a regular basis, with interesting programs and guest speakers, along with general discussions of mutual problems and experiences in our field of endeavor, in reality a “school for building officials”. Brother Charles Fenwick of Newburgh deserves much credit for his work in making the early efforts of our chapter successful.
In June of l973, the Chapter voted to change its name from Orange-Catskill to the more representative name “Tri County” covering the counties of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster which is our designated area of activity and recruitment of members.
The purposes of our existence, aside from the camaraderie we enjoy, is to expand our knowledge of the role and responsibilities of the building official through mutual exchange of experiences in the field of inspection and construction, in housing and public safety; to properly interpret and enforce the various building codes and ordinances, to make recommendations, based on experience, to the States Building Codes Commission. We have established and are continually improving our relationship with local fire, health and welfare departments, recognizing that the overall welfare of our citizenry is served best by our cooperation with one another.
Presently there are seventeen chapters in NYSBOC, namely: Capitol District, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, Monroe County Fire Marshalls, Nassau County, Niagara Frontier, Northern Adirondack, Ontario County, Rockland County, Southern Tier, Suffolk County, St. Lawrence County, Tri County, Westchester County, and Western Southern Tier Building Officials. The Conference now has approximately 2,500 members.
Membership in our chapter is open to all who wish to join. Anyone employed by government in the building or related field is eligible for general membership. Other public employees or persons in the private sector of construction are invited to join as associate members.
Compiled by: Arthur F. Huggins, CCA