MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County has one of the toughest building codes in the country. Doors and windows on newly constructed homes can withstand hurricane force winds, thanks in large part to longtime Building Director Charles Danger.
But even though plenty of danger remains from hurricanes, Miami-Dade County will be without Charlie Danger when he retires this week after three decades on the job.
“I’ve been blessed,” Danger said at his office in West Miami-Dade. “For 26 years, I’ve enjoyed every minute of my career. Every day I came to work it was a different experience and that is what made this place so good to come to work every day.”
Danger began his career with the county as an electrical inspector in 1988, but he made a name for himself in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, when he championed the South Florida Building Code, which would become a model for coastal construction around the world.
“This is my Bible,” Danger said, holding a copy of the copious building code. “I call it my prized possession.”
Danger said getting the tough building code passed and keeping it on the books was a battle with contractors, developers and politicians that sometimes became personal.
“We had threats,” he said, looking back at the battles over the building code. “I had messages saying, ‘We will kill you. We will hurt your family, We know where you live.’ But we are still here.”
Danger is leaving a department that issues 100,000 permits a year, and employs 350 county workers, including 70 inspectors who make sure the code is followed.
“The inspectors today are well trained and know what to look for,” he said. “Before, the inspectors were not well trained. Sometimes they did inspections from their cars.”
Miami-Dade County Commissioners recognized Danger with a proclamation Wednesday, honoring a public servant who says he’s ready to spend retirement fishing and taking care of his grandchildren.
“When its time to move on, you have to do it,” Danger said. “It’s time to let other people pick up where you left off.”
Danger has already passed the torch. His replacement is his longtime deputy director Juliana Salas, who takes over the job next week.