Christopher Kiel named Virginia Tech’s university building official
Christopher Kiel has been named Virginia Tech’s university building official.
As the university building official, Kiel is responsible for enforcing the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code for construction work on all Virginia Tech-owned facilities across the Commonwealth of Virginia, including Blacksburg, Roanoke, the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, and everywhere in between.
Established in 2010, the Office of the University Building Official reviews plans for new construction and renovation projects and performs construction inspections required by state code. The office, and specifically Kiel’s position, reports functionally to the university's Board of Visitors Building and Grounds Committee, currently chaired by C.T. Hill and administratively to Vice President for Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities Chris Kiwus. Elaine Gall previously held the role of university building official, retiring in spring 2021.
Kiel brings three decades of experience in the construction industry and over two decades of experience in building and fire jurisdictions across the U.S. He joins Virginia Tech from Toledo, Ohio, where he served as senior plan check engineer for Municipal Plan Check Services. He performed plan reviews on commercial and residential projects across many code disciplines in a remote capacity.
The connected nature of the university building official role was a big draw for Kiel. The immeasurable opportunities to collaborate with a variety of stakeholders — division members, construction firms, state partners, students, and more — really stood out.
Virginia Tech’s robust campus master plan was another key attraction for Kiel.
“The importance placed on developing an accessible campus detailed in the university’s master plan means a lot to me. Making campuses accessible requires more than designing to meet codes and standards, but exceeding them by making experiences of Virginia Tech’s campus inclusive and equitable for all through universal design,” said Kiel.
After serving as an electrician in the U.S. military, Kiel pursued a degree in building construction management at Purdue University. He graduated with distinction. He has since held positions encompassing all aspects of the construction process: owner’s representative, designer, contractor, inspector, senior plan check engineer, fire marshal, and building official.
Kiel is a licensed professional engineer in six states and holds over 40 International Code Council certifications, including that of certified building official.
“We are thrilled to have Chris join our team. The university building official has a tremendous opportunity to impact positive change and foster community-wide dialogue around code compliance, safety, accessibility, and more. Chris has the wealth of experience, expertise, and passion needed to ensure our university facilities are best-in-class,” Kiwus said.
“I am so appreciative of the kindness and warm welcome that I have received from the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg communities. I look forward to serving both as university building official,” noted Kiel.