Tom Elliott

Tom Elliott, Building Code Official

Where were you born (and raised, if different)?

I was born & raised in Waynesboro VA. I lived in Richmond from 1972-1996.

When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?

I live in Waynesboro, but I came to work for the City of Charlottesville in 1999.

What neighborhood do you live in now?

I live in the Tree Streets neighborhood in Waynesboro.

Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?

My wife, Jeannie, and two daughters: one a JMU graduate and other finishing at the University of Mary Washington.

What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?

I graduated from VCU in 1977.

What were you doing before you came to work for the city?

I was a building inspector for the City of Waynesboro and an electrical inspector for the City of Richmond.

Your job title is Building Code Official – what, in your own words, would you say you do?

I administer and interpret the various building codes adopted by the state and enforced in Charlottesville.  I also supervise the building inspectors and deputy code officials.

What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?

BEST: working with a great group of people, the City of Charlottesville is a super place to work. I’m not saying this to impress my boss, I’m old and have worked at other places.

DIFFICULT: interpreting current codes to be used in buildings constructed before codes were adopted.

How does your job most directly impact the average person?

By making it safer for people to get out of a building during a building emergency.

What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the city?

I love architecture and history, so I have enjoyed being able to inspect and assist designers working on older buildings. I enjoy seeing how older (pre-1900) buildings were constructed.

What is a little-known fact about you?

I was a resident artist at Kohler Company in Wisconsin and made ceramic art from toilets and sinks.  I have been invited back to Kohler next year for a reunion of ceramic artists.

What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?

1) I make ceramic art.  2)  I have renovated and restored pre-1900 buildings in Richmond.  3) Hiking into the Blue Ridge Mountains to find old plane crash sites, and hiking on Appalachian Trail with my family while trying to sidestep or step over rattlesnakes.