"I've witnessed enough on-the-job injuries to know I wanted to do something different," said Cory McVay, who has lifelong experience in construction and, since October, has been a plans examiner and building inspector for the city of Sunnyside.
For McVay, 32, it was a back injury that prompted him to move from building to planning.
After completing a building inspection program at Edmonds Community College, he worked for the city of Lacey in an interim position before starting work in Sunnyside.
McVay, wife Shawna and their four children are in the process of relocating from Olympia to the Lower Valley. "It's a nice little community," he said of the area.
Sunnyside created the new planner/inspector position due to a construction boom that saw the city go from less than 20 new homes in 2004 to more than 60 in 2005.
"Overall permit applications (which include remodels and building additions) are up over 20 percent from last year," said McVay's boss, Sunnyside building official Mike Storms. Each permit, in turn, requires review and, when construction is complete, an inspection.
"I really like this," McVay said of his job which provides the opportunity to literally see projects through from the ground-or in this case the drawing board-up.
Seeing the big picture is something many construction workers don't get to experience, added McVay.
"Most people in construction focus on a specific part like framing," he noted with a smile. "But when you're involved in a project from the initial idea to the actual building there's way more involved."
While most of the projects he sees in Sunnyside are for residential construction, he also has worked on commercial plans. "Those have a lot more detail to them," he observed.
"It's sometimes overwhelming, it's amazing how complex even the simplest projects can be," McVay said of his job. "But it's really enjoyable and fascinates me."