A building official with a green hue | ParkRecord.com

A building official with a green hue

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

City Hall sees itself as being a leader in environmentalism.

With a recent high-level hiring, the municipal government hopes it will build on that idea.

Chad Root, the newly installed chief building official, brings to City Hall a background in green building, the theory that construction projects can be done in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Root came to Park City after spending 4 1/2 years as the chief building official in Mountain Village, Colo., a slopeside community just outside Telluride. While at Mountain Village, he coauthored a set of green building rules. Mountain Village, Telluride and the county where they reside jointly adhere to the rules, he said.

He said people in Park City appear to have similar interests.

"There seems to be a lot of well-educated people here who want to move into that realm," Root said about Park City.

Recommended Stories For You

Some of the regulations within the green building rules in the Telluride area include, according to Root:

  • mandatory recycling of construction materials
  • homes that are built larger than 5,000 square feet must meet a home-energy rating system. Some of the categories within the rating system include insulation, the layout of the windows, mechanical systems and tests to search for drafts
  • homes that are built larger than 5,000 square feet must be tied to some sort of cleaner-burning energy system, such as wind power, solar power or hydropower.

    "They’re trying to build smarter," Root said about developers in the Telluride area.

    Root noted, though, that Colorado leaders allow individual communities to adopt building codes tailored to their own wishes. In Utah a statewide code is in force. The difference affords building officials in Colorado more freedoms, he said.

    Meanwhile, Root instituted a prohibition on construction on Sundays in Mountain Village as well as shortening construction hours during the rest of the week. The moves were in response to complaints from people who live in Mountain Village, he said. Construction in Park City is allowed on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

    Root is 38 years old and served as the chief building official in the Denver suburb of Wheat Ridge, Colo., before moving to Mountain Village. He moved to Prospector when he arrived in Park City. He said the move from Mountain Village to Park City was partly to situate himself in a larger community that is not as remote as the Telluride area.

    Root said Park City, even as the development pace has slowed considerably since the onset of the recession, is growing more quickly than Mountain Village. According to Root the number of building permits dropped by upward of 90 percent during the recession in Mountain Village.

    Root succeeded Ron Ivie as the chief building official at the Marsac Building, following a legend among building inspectors. Ivie spent 30 years as Park City’s chief building official, seeing the community through the boom years and becoming a respected statewide figure, before his mid-2010 retirement. Root noted Ivie’s stature as he spoke about the position, saying former City Hall staffers who later moved to the Telluride area had talked highly of him.

    Root started his job in Park City amid a continuing downturn in the construction industry. The year-to-date building numbers in 2011 were beating 2010 through the end of April, but they were lackluster nonetheless.

    A Building Department official last week projected the construction industry could rebound as early as 2013. There is a dwindling number of large development sites within Park City, meaning that a comeback could be muted.