As one of only about 700 Master Code Professionals in the country, Catoosa County's new chief building official Patrick Couch is more than qualified for his position. He fills the hole left by Rick Quarles, Catoosa's former chief building official of nearly 13 years, who left to become Fort Oglethorpe's new head of building and planning-zoning director in July.
A veteran of codes enforcement and building inspections for over 20 years, Couch comes to Catoosa after spending time doing building plan reviews in Fulton and DeKalb counties. Born and raised in Cumming, Ga., Couch still has family living in North Georgia.
"My intention has been for some time to try to move and live back up in this area as opposed to the ever more crowded metro Atlanta area," he said.
For the title of Master Code Professional, Couch had to undergo over five years of certification and training. It's the highest level of certification according to the International Code Council, a governing body for building codes across the country. Becoming an MCP requires dozens of tests and examinations on the intricacies of residential, commercial and industrial building codes, and demonstrates a mastery of the specifics of the industry.
As for his role in Catoosa, Couch officially started in the middle of August, so he said he's still getting his bearings.
"I'm still evaluating everything as it goes, but I don't see anything in the immediate future that I would want to change," he said.
What he does want to do, though, is be transparent and available to the citizens who need him and his department, such as people building on their property or concerned with the integrity of their home after a storm.
"I'm liking the county a lot; it's a fine place to live and work," he said. "I'm not hard to get a hold of, and for anyone that wants to reach out, I'll be here."
Couch and the Building Inspection Department can be reached at 706-965-4226.
Email Shane Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org.