Longtime city employee is Austin's new building code czar

Longtime city of Austin employee Todd Wilcox has moved into a new real estate-centric leadership role as the municipality’s latest building official.

Wilcox, now in his 24th year with the city, was previously chief commercial building inspector. His new role oversees Austin’s technical codes designed to keep the city’s structures, both homes and businesses, safe throughout their lifetimes.

“I am excited to begin this new role as building official. This has been my goal for a long time,” Wilcox said. “There is a lot of new development occurring in our growing city, and it is our job to facilitate that work in a compliant way that serves our community. My approach will be using common sense to solve challenges during the review and inspections process.”

He officially took on the new role July 2.

Todd Wilcox

Todd Wilcox

City of Austin

“Our building official plays a critical role in our city,” stated José Roig, director of Austin’s Development Services Department. “With his decades of dedication to building safety and public service, Todd will without a doubt strengthen our commitment to building a better and safer Austin. He is passionate about keeping families safe as they occupy their homes and commercial buildings. The technical codes provide minimum standards to promote safe occupancy.”

Wilcox is an International Code Council-certified building official, property maintenance inspector, zoning inspector and commercial and residential plumbing inspector.

Building codes are always of importance in cities with a lot of growth and construction like Austin. And building safety has been national news since the deadly 2021 condo tower collapse in Surfside, Florida, cast extra attention on safety standards for high-rise buildings.

“If there is a problem with a project or we can’t approve a plan, I think it is important to communicate the reason so we can find a solution that meets code requirements. If we are flexible, we can often find alternative methods to meet the standards,” Wilcox said. “The rules are in place to support public safety, property safety and community well-being. All those goals are important, and there can be more than one way to achieve them.”

A former electrician’s mate in the Navy, Wilcox started his city career as an Austin Energy electrician before joining the Austin Code Department as division manager leading divisions including commercial, multifamily and licensing and registration.

In his new role, Wilcox will serve as a key leader of a team of about 500 city employees working in the development services and permitting office.

“I am surrounded by knowledgeable people who have a detailed understanding of the codes that apply to development in Austin, and we will work closely together every step of the way,” Wilcox said. “The building official is named throughout the technical building codes as the person responsible for making sure structures are completed according to all the requirements, and I welcome that challenge.”

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