BuildingCodeCollege.com Instructor Profile
Glenn GA Mathewson, MCP
I love teaching code
Published work available online
North American Deck & Railing Association
Yeah, I’m pretty social
Get to know me better
Let me tell you about my book!
I collect vintage code books
Some ways I have fun
American Ninja Warrior
MY CAREER STORY FROM 1996 – 2021
The builder years
I started my construction career in 1996 at age 19 when I left an assistant manager job at a movie theater to become a laborer for a turnkey framing contractor. The job quickly progressed into completing punch list items and inspection corrections, building decks, framing basements, repairing siding, and basically fixing any other issues necessary to keep the crews moving and the shells turning over to the homebuilder. In 1998 I became a subcontractor, framed a few homes, built a lot of tract-home decks, and then started marketing custom decks to homeowners under Mathewson Carpentry. I later merged my company into a friend’s stronger brand, Highpoint Decks, and kept designing, selling, and building until 2005.
From decks to code
I was building the most elaborate deck of my career when I decided I wanted to do something different. I had two children under three and another in planning, and I wanted a steady income with good benefits. I didn’t want to do sales calls in the evenings anymore. In 2005, after earning three ICC inspection certifications and spending a week on a ride-along with a local inspector for “experience”, I got a position as a building, plumbing, and mechanical inspector for the City of Westminster, Colorado. It was quite an overwhelming experience to suddenly be working as a colleague with inspectors whose approval I had become accustomed to seeking. Of course, as a newbie, I continued to seek their approval.
Becoming an inspector
I was lucky to have great mentors and leaders at the city who helped shape me into an inspector. They trusted me to handle new situations and construction applications so I could take what I was learning in the code books and find the intent and purpose. As the newbie, I also handled all the roof inspections and crawl space furnace replacements, but they also invested in me with nearly unlimited education and certifications. In my first two years on the job, I earned 17 different ICC certifications, and was only the second in the state of Colorado to earn the Master Code Professional Certification. Between two five-year assignments as an inspector, I also spent three years as a plan reviewer.
Becoming a teacher
In 2007, with two years under my belt as an inspector, I decided to act on something I noticed. Deck builders didn’t understand codes, and the inspectors they were counting on didn’t understand decks. I decided to be a bridge. That spring, I taught my first “Building Codes for Building Decks” class under the 2006 IRC at the Deck Superstore, my previous supplier. I’ve taught at their contractor expo nearly every year since. I also reached out to the editor of The Professional Deck Builder, a trade journal I received as a builder, and suggested that building codes should be presented to builders positively and proactively. Soon after, they published my first article about decks and safety glazing codes. I’ve since written over 70 articles for that journal and its parent, the Journal of Light Construction, and continue still today. Taking the confidence from these speaking and writing opportunities, I have since published in the ICC Building Safety Journal and have had have my own column in Fine Homebuilding magazine since 2018, “Know the Code.” I teach at ICC chapter events and trade shows across the country. In 2009 I approached the International Code Council with an idea to write a deck code book that reprints the IRC provisions along with commentary and illustrations. The goal was to provide deck industry professionals a code and education book with only what they need, while also helping the code industry better understand code applications with decks. Deck Construction based on the 2009 IRC was published soon after. In summer of 2021 a revised second edition was published based on the 2018 and 2021 codes.
Code consulting begins
In 2011, the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) recognized my contributions to the industry with a contracted position as their technical advisor. In that role, I assist and advise the association and its members on code issues and education. We created the nation’s first and only deck code certification, the Master Deck Professional—Codes and Standards. In 2013 I took the voice of the deck industry to the 2015 IRC code development hearings, and later for the 2021 edition. I continue today as a voice for the deck industry in developing codes and standards. For my consistent dedication to the field, I have twice been awarded the Terry Award for outstanding contributions to the deck and railing industry.
BuildingCodeCollege.com expands the audience
With the goal of making deck code education and the NADRA certification more easily available to builders, I began exploring the development of an online education platform in 2012. By the end of that year, I launched a much larger dream with BuildingCodeCollege.com. Though only having four deck courses at launch, the mission was to create an online hub of independent instructors from all disciples in a profit-sharing business model offering low-cost education in an annual all-you-can learn format targeting the entire construction industry. This mission continues today, with 12 courses from the IRC, and more being created.
Going all in.
In Spring of 2018, I took the big leap, and after 13 years with the City of Westminster, while doing “side work” for 11 years, I left to commit full-time to education, consulting, and BuildingCodeCollege.com. Though my focus is the BCC dream, I provide consulting services to assist design firms, contractors, publishers, and trade organizations, as well as code adoption assistance to government clients. In 2019 and 2021 I was part of the consulting team that assisted the City and County of Denver in their code adoption process. I teach for ICC chapters and trade shows across the country, both live and online. Drawing on my experience as a tradesman, contractor, consultant and building inspector, I review, discuss, and teach the standards of construction with a true understanding of the realities involved with applying them in the field.
Looking to the future.
My primary mission is BuildingCodeCollege.com. Though I set out on this dream of online education in 2012, the pandemic has disrupted business as usual and created a new mainstream demand for online education. I’m always looking for reputable, independent instructors that share my mission of affordable education for the construction industry, 24/7/365. To keep the lights while I pursue this mission, I am also available as a teacher, consultant, technical reviewer, or any other service my skill set in codes can offer. To validate what I teach and consult, I also collect and preserve vintage code books, with over 800 in my growing collection. The information they provide offers incredible insight into today’s code industry, and I’m always happy to dig into the past to help fellow professionals with information they may need.