A champion for continuous improvement, partnership-building, and elevating opportunities for women in construction, University Building Official Elaine Gall is set to retire on March 31.

Gall joined the Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities as university building official in 2018. 

Established in 2010, the Office of the University Building Official has primary responsibility for the management for, and enforcement of, the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code. This ensures that construction projects conducted on university property are completed in compliance with the code, related laws, and regulations. The Office of the University Building Official reviews plans and issues permits for new construction and renovation projects, and performs more than 2,000 construction inspections annually.

Through Gall’s leadership, the Office of the University Building Official has advanced a culture of institutional excellence. The team has implemented a series of operational improvements that have enhanced service delivery for university clients. 

One notable example is the transition to electronic processing for plan reviews, permit issuance, and building inspections. This shift continues to deliver positive outcomes, including a more structured review process, improved timeliness in processing, and additional operational capacity for the university building official team members.

Gall has been a dedicated advocate for fostering a more accessible landscape for all university members. Her highly collaborative approach has been a strong complement to the university’s strategic efforts to bolster accessibility and inclusion led by the Office of Equity and Accessibility.  

The Office of the University Building Official works closely with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Accessibility Services at Virginia Tech and the Office of University Planning to ensure all university facilities across the commonwealth meet or exceed university, state, and national ADA codes. Among these spaces are building interiors and exteriors, restrooms, sidewalks, pathways, and many more. 

Gall and her team engage with design professionals and university stakeholders throughout all stages of the construction and renovation project lifecycle, integrating accessibility code compliance in early design planning through project completion.

“In working towards a more accessible university landscape, Elaine and the university building official team are valued partners. We are deeply appreciative for Elaine’s technical expertise, collaborative spirit, and her many other contributions at Virginia Tech,” said Pam Vickers, director of ADA and Accessibility Services and 504 compliance.

Gall has also offered a strong voice in support of women in construction, a traditionally male-dominated industry. She has helped lead annual Women in Construction Week activities alongside other female leaders in the Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities. She also participates in ongoing programming hosted by the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, offering her unique experiences and insights in the field to female students interested in construction careers.

A Hokie, Gall received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech and a master’s in engineering with a focus in fire protection from the University of Maryland. She is registered as a professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia and holds a number of certifications in code enforcement, including certified building official and certified fire official. 

“Guided by an unwavering commitment to public service and her unparalleled skillset, Elaine has made a tremendous impact in the commonwealth as Virginia Tech university building official, president of the Virginia Fire Prevention Association, and previously, as university building official at the University of Virginia. We are grateful this exceptional Hokie chose to return home to Virginia Tech and we wish her the very best in her retirement,” said Chris Kiwus, vice president for campus planning, infrastructure, and facilities.

A search to fill the university building official role is currently ongoing. Office of University Building Official team member Steve Smith, PE, certified building official, is serving as interim university building official until the search is complete.

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