Cody I. Pless, AIA, NCARB Architecture, Construction & Premises Safety Expert

Cody I. Pless, Architecture, Construction & Premises Safety Expert

Cody Pless is a Registered Architect with nearly 20 years of experience in architectural design, construction, site planning, and project management. He has project experience in a variety of building and facility types, from single and multi-family residential, to commercial, restaurant, medical, and institutional properties. Cody applies his expertise to forensic casework involving premises liability disputes and construction claims.

Cody has worked as both an architect and a contractor. He is experienced in the design, planning, estimating, and scheduling side of construction, in addition to having on-site experience as a contractor and building inspector. Before joining Robson Forensic, Cody was Principal Architect at his own firm after working for other architectural and engineering firms in the southeast as a CAD Drafter, Project Architect, Project Manager, and Architectural Associate.

In one role, Cody led the residential studio of a mid-sized firm out of Atlanta, where they built 1,500 townhouse units over the course of two years. The site planning for these projects required dealing with zoning regulations across multiple counties, while also focusing on the minutiae of individual design elements such as walkways and parking lots, stairs, handrails, and lighting. After overseeing these projects from initial concept through completion, Cody has in-depth knowledge of how the building industry operates and how design elements within the built environment contribute to safety and accessibility.

Cody is a graduate of Georgia Tech, where he earned a B.S. in Architecture and an M.S. in Building Construction and Facility Management. He is certified by the National Council of Registration Boards (NCARB) with registrations in Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Cody is also certified by the International Code Council as a Building Inspector for both Commercial and Residential.

Professional Experience

Robson Forensic, Inc.

Associate

2023 to present

Provide technical investigations, analysis, reports, and testimony for failure analysis, and toward the resolution of commercial and personal injury litigation involving slip, trip, and fall injuries, code compliance, accessibility, construction claims and disputes, workplace safety, construction materials and components, and architectural professional liability. Areas of expertise include:

Premises Liability: Walkway safety, slip resistance, stairs, single-riser steps, ramps, corridors, platforms and level changes, guardrails, graspable handrails, entrance vestibules, walk-off mats, low energy power-assisted doors, delineation of hazards in parking lots, wayfinding, effectiveness of warnings, efficacy of illumination.

Accessibility: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ANSI A117.1, Georgia Accessibility Standards, Fair Housing Act design standards, accessible routes, accessible building components including ramps, entrances, toilet rooms, protruding hazards, areas of refuge, walking surfaces, curb ramps, signage, and detectable warnings.

Site Design and Planning: Site planning, submittals for zoning, site development, site utilities and utility connections, grading and drainage, control of storm water, exterior stairs, traffic calming measures, parking lot design.

Building Design and Planning: Historic preservation and adaptive-reuse, transient lodging, energy efficient design and construction, dissimilar occupancies and fire separations, means of egress components, rain screens, curtain walls, stone veneers, insulated concrete form (ICF) design, multi-story design and construction of steel, pre-engineered metal buildings, cast-in-place concrete, and pre-engineered wood.

Building Systems and Equipment: Footings, foundations, structural fill, structural cast-in-place concrete, steel, wood, insulated concrete forms, building envelope systems, EPDM roofing, commercial kitchen equipment, mechanical controls, electrical switch gear equipment, commercial grease traps, controlled key card access.

Code Compliance: Building code analysis, zoning and land use codes, fire codes, mechanical codes, electrical codes, coordination between applicable codes and design standards, influence of energy code requirements on weather resistance and building envelope design, code commentary, code inspections.

Construction Materials Failures: Water intrusion related issues, brick, stone, and concrete, gutter and flashing system failures, roofing system failures, parapet wall copings, expansion joint failures, sealant and caulk system failures, window and curtainwall system failures, annealed glass, and tempered glazing.

Construction Defect Claims: Construction defects, deficiencies and delay claims, contractual obligations, and disputes under various types of project delivery methods, adequacy of construction documents, industry standards and quality issues.

General Contracting: Cost analysis, quantity take-offs, construction estimating, construction coordination, self-performed trade work, subcontractor obligations, OSHA compliance, unprotected floor openings, open-sided drop-offs, construction quality control, inspections, punch lists, permits.

Conspicuousness of Hazards: Placement, effectiveness, and illumination of warnings, signage, dark adaption, color, texture, and contrast of adjacent materials.

Retail Store Safety: Falling merchandise, unstable shelving and product displays, improper material stacking and storage, palletized products, display base hazards.

Architectural Practice: Owner-Architect Agreements, General Conditions, Construction Management, errors and omissions, owner betterment, change order analysis, RFI process, submittal review, construction phasing, construction administration, project coordination, inspections, interpreting contract performance, enforcement of contract provisions, punch lists, substantial completion, and closeout procedures.

Pless Designs, LLC

Owner/Principal

2013 to present
  • Provide architectural services for clients consisting of wide variety of project types including light commercial, higher education, religious, mixed-use, 200 custom built single-family homes, and 150 multi-family residential dwelling units.
  • Manage clients and subcontractors. Perform construction observation and administration duties. Perform analysis to determine project feasibility due to local zoning codes, building codes, and budget constraints. Conduct review and coordination of construction drawings by subcontractors. Architect-of-Record on design-build project delivery, project management for commercial facilities, medical clinics, educational classrooms, assembly occupancies, single and multi-family residential housing.
  • Capital Independence Clubhouse, Matthews, North Carolina – New construction of amenities building for rental community. Specialty items include custom doors, multi-floor assembly space, exercise facility, business center, chemical and equipment storage, swimming pool, storefront windows, window flashing details, roof flashing details, gutters, downspouts, heavy timber outbuilding structure with traditional joinery, brick veneer and fiber-cement siding, wood, and steel structure.
  • West Georgia Technical College Welding Classroom Addition, Franklin, Georgia – Higher education building, welding equipment, fire suppression systems, material storage, safety equipment layout, heavy equipment storage.
  • SonRise Community Church, Summerville, Georgia – Pre-engineered metal building designed to accommodate basketball court, classrooms, assembly space, commercial kitchen, and nursery. Second pre-engineered metal building designed to accommodate worship sanctuary and office space.
  • Platinum Medical Training Center, Atlanta, Georgia – Existing warehouse building converted for use as a medical storage and training center. Scope of work included cadaver storage facility, classrooms, restrooms, offices, lobby, clean room design standards, and surgery training center.
  • Private Residence, Palmetto, Georgia – Custom home built using structural brick masonry, with structural masonry headers, heavy timber floor framing system, heavy timber exterior framing, swimming pool, below grade detached shelter, roof flashing, window flashing, multi-slide doors, wood burning, and gas insert fireplaces.
  • Ocoee Street Office Building, Chattanooga, Tennessee – Warehouse office building, white box layout for rental units, custom unit designs for units rented at time of construction, code analysis, zoning code analysis in area with form-based code, structural analysis and design for structure built adjacent to active railroad.
  • Singleton Law Firm, Griffin, Georgia – Code analysis of existing office building, program requirements to maintain historic character of existing building, barrier free design for new accessible access routes to building and accessible restrooms, layout for new office spaces and restrooms, renovated porte-cochere.
  • JB Harris Group Office Building, Newnan, Georgia – Renovation of multiple, existing office suites into single area with a concentrated business occupant.

Place Maker Design

Project Manager

2016 to 2018

Responsible for design, drafting, and construction administration of various project types including mixed-use buildings, commercial shopping centers, restaurants, retail, offices, and single and multi-family residential. Supervised preparation of designs and drawings completed by interns. Performed quality assurance control on documents, coordinated drawings by subcontractors, conducted construction administration, and acted as liaison with Historic Preservation Commissions to obtain building permits in various locations.

  • Private Residence, Atlanta, Georgia – Custom house on infill lot in historic district of urban center. Zoning analysis, zoning board meetings, historic preservation commission meetings, swimming pool design, detached guesthouse/garage design, concrete pile foundation to support basement slab and structural walls, multi-slide doors with open corner design.
  • Chabad of Kennesaw, Kennesaw, Georgia – Religious/academic spaces in existing building for university, accessible routes, code analysis, zoning code analysis, assembly spaces, commercial kitchen, dining area, bathrooms, recreation areas, and classrooms.
  • Crafty Hog, Atlanta, Georgia – Restaurant design for existing space in high-rise building. Commercial Kitchen, bathrooms, dining rooms, accessible routes, walk-in cooler, commercial wood-fired smoker in indoor space for barbeque restaurant.
  • Suwanee Gateway Retail, Suwanee, Georgia – White box retail center, bathrooms, fire rated tenant separation walls, zoning codes, building code analysis, accessible routes, custom tenant build-out design for mercantile use.
  • Eastmore Development, Conyers, Georgia – Schematic Design for large multi-use development on wooded site. Development included various retail centers, including big box/grocery store, city center layout for walkable commercial district, community center, townhouses, garden style and corridor apartments, and single-family homes.
  • Twin Lakes Pool House, Atlanta, Georgia – Renovation of existing community pool center with multiple buildings. Non-slip flooring, mercantile use for concessions, offices, chemical and equipment storage with 3-hour fire separation wall (wood), and perimeter access control.
  • Multi-Family Residential Projects – Approximately 1500 townhome units, 100 apartment/condominium units in various wood-framed buildings. Designs included wood over concrete podium, garden style apartments, corridor apartments, condominium units, and townhouses built on existing parking deck structures.

Greenfield Design

Project Architect

2015 to 2016

Performed phased design services and drafting to create detailed construction drawings for projects including custom single-family residential projects and light commercial projects. Custom homes in the range of 3,000-7,500 square feet and construction costs from $500,000 to $2.5 million.

  • Private Residence, Chattanooga, Tennessee – Design for custom house on steeply sloping lot with 60-foot elevation difference between opposite sides. Steel supports, steel to wood connections, basement with sub-basement, detached garage with concrete retaining walls.
  • University of Tennessee Chattanooga Golf Center Hitting Bay, Chattanooga, Tennessee – Climate controlled practice facility with aluminum coiling overhead doors for collegiate golf teams.

Smith Ironworks

Project Manager

2014 to 2015

Performed construction quantity take-offs and prepared estimates of probable construction cost for steel construction. Managed production and erection of structural steel for construction projects ranging in scope from border crossing signs, stair railings and kick rails, to shopping centers, and new school construction. Worked with general contractors to manage construction contracts and monitor safety of multiple subcontractors on the construction site.

  • Hobby Lobby, multiple states – Tilt-up concrete wall construction.
  • Fernbank Elementary School, Atlanta, Georgia – Estimated steel costs and managed the fabrication and erection of several hundred tons of structural steel, staircases, handrails, and guardrails. Worked within AISC standards for fabrication and construction, supervised subcontractors, and managed safety standards, completed periodic site visits to manage construction progress.
  • City of Alpharetta Water Authority, Alpharetta, Georgia – Stairs, under-stair guidance rails, decorative and functional brass handrails, guardrails.
  • Water Tower, Cloudland, Georgia – 25 foot tall, 50,000 Gallon cylindrical steel tank erected on structural concrete slab.

Sierra Construction Company

Assistant Project Manager

2012 to 2014

Managed the construction and safety on retail and restaurant build-out projects in secure areas of airports. Coordinated specialty contractors. Completed various portions of the construction process including demolition, rebar installation, concrete installation, and finish material installation. Cultivated relationships with suppliers, clients, and city and county officials to ensure on-time delivery of projects.

  • Buffalo Wild Wings, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport – Walk-in cooler, ADA restaurant construction, non-slip flooring, water proofing, bar, commercial kitchen, ADA restroom construction, supervised subcontractors, and managed safety standards.
  • Switchgear Room Cargo Terminal, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport – Project Superintendent, completed demolition of existing concrete block walls, construction of new walls, steel doors, concrete pad, and installation of electrical switchgear while ensuring that existing electrical equipment remained protected and operational during construction.
  • Baja Fresh, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport – Project Superintendent, coordinated trades for project in high-security area, installed commercial kitchen and wall finishes, non-slip flooring, roof and floor penetrations, water proofing, and specialty wall finishes.
  • Office Building – Mold and water remediation project. Rehabilitated company office after water leak and mold infestation discovered during remodel.

Jack Davis Architect

Project Architect

2008 to 2012

Responsible for design, drafting, and construction administration for a variety of project types including single-family residential, multi-family apartments, offices, restaurant, and light commercial.

  • Private Residence, Pebble Beach, California – Zoning research, site design for multiple outbuildings, custom building design to optimize scenic views from property.
  • Leasing Office, Houma, Louisiana – Assembly space, office spaces, fitness center, playground, pool design, pool chemical storage and equipment room.
  • Restaurant Renovation, Atlanta, Georgia – Dining room addition, ADA redesign for accessibility, bar design, and planned assembly space for existing building.
  • Restaurant Renovation, Atlanta, Georgia – Added new handrails to existing ramps and stairs on exterior of restaurant.
  • Private Residence, Atlanta, Georgia – Renovation of existing residence after historic flood. Raised residence to accommodate FEMA regulations for homes built in flood prone areas. Existing two-story residence elevated approximately seven feet above grade with new concrete structural support.

Niles Bolton Associates

Architectural Associate

2007 to 2008

Design and drafting in an established architectural setting. Responsibilities included preparation of construction drawings and technical specifications for approximately 1500 dwelling units of multi-family apartments.

Brewer Engineering

CAD Drafter

2005 to 2007

Responsible for production of contract documents on new construction of religious, office, and educational projects. Designed perimeter security fencing and gates for public elementary schools. Performed site analysis for new construction project site plans. Site development plan review for Jackson County, Georgia.

  • Allatoona High School, Acworth, Georgia – Site planning of wooded site, parking lot design, sidewalk design, water retention design, sports fields design, perimeter access control.
  • Compton Elementary School, Powder Springs, Georgia – Perimeter fence and access control designed for school.
  • Roswell Street Baptist Church, Marietta, Georgia – Site planning for renovation on limited site, parking lot design, water retention design, sidewalk design.

Professional Credentials

  • Registered Architect: Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee
  • Certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
  • International Code Council Building Inspector – Commercial
  • International Code Council Building Inspector – Residential

Education

M.S., Building Construction and Facility Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

B.S., Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

Continuing Education

  • “The Wild World of WRBs: Specifying WRBs as Part of a High-Performance System,” Benjamin Obdyke, May 2023
  • “A Range of Rainscreens,” Benjamin Obdyke, April 2023
  • “Improving and Prolonging the Performance of Finished Concrete Floors,” AEC Daily Corporation, December 2022
  • “When Sound Control Matters: Floor Underlayment Solutions,” AEC Daily Corporation, December 2022
  • “Managing Clients for High Performance Building,” Huber Engineered Woods, December 2022
  • “Clearing the Fog: Water, Air, and Vapor Management in Today’s Wall and Roof Assemblies,” Huber Engineered Woods, December 2022
  • “Strategies to Process; Above-Grade Walls,” Huber Engineered Woods, December 2022
  • “Insulation, Energy, and Durability: Myths, Misconceptions and Reality,” Huber Engineered Woods, December 2022
  • “Strategy to Process: Roofs,” Huber Engineered Woods, December 2022
  • “Strategy to Process: Foundations,” Huber Engineered Woods, December 2022
  • “Current Approaches to Sustainable Community Planning,” AEC Daily Corporation, November 2022
  • “Rainscreens, Barrier Walls, & The Insulated Metal Panel Solution,” AEC Daily Corporation, November 2022
  • “Sustainable Curb Appeal,” AEC Daily Corporation, November 2022
  • “Insulated Concrete Forms,” AEC Daily Corporation, November 2022
  • “Design Considerations for Plantable Permeable Pavement,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “Louver Design and Selection: What Every Architect Should Know,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “Climate-Positive Decorative Panels: From Forest Management to Material Substitution,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “Thermal Spacers for Code Compliance and Improved Energy Efficiency in Metal Buildings,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “Solar Lighting Systems,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “Structural Steel: Sustainability & Fireproofing,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “Fenestration Security for Educational, Religious, Commercial, and Retail Applications,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “Light-Manipulating Materials: Engaging, Biophilic, & Sustainable,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “Retrofit Security Glazing Solutions for Advanced Forced Entry and Ballistic Protection,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “Natural Beauty: Design with Biophilic Principles to Promote Occupant Well-Being,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “The Restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “The Art of Residential Lighting,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “Rethinking Solid Waste Management,” AEC Daily Corporation, June 2021
  • “Noise Control Solutions: Resilient Sound Isolation Clips,” AEC Daily Corporation, May 2021
  • “Polyiso CI for Code-Compliant Walls in Types I-IV Construction,” AEC Daily Corporation, May 2021
  • “Specifying and Using Fire-Retardant-Treated Wood,” AEC Daily Corporation, May 2021
  • “The Importance of Balanced Ventilation with Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs),” AEC Daily Corporation, May 2021
  • OSHA 10-Hour Construction Safety, 2013

Professional Memberships

  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
    • AIA West Georgia
    • AIA Atlanta
  • American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP)
  • American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)
    • E-06 Performance of Buildings Committee
      • E06.55 Performance of Buildings Subcommittee
    • F-13 Pedestrian Walkway Safety and Footwear Committee
      • F13.50 Walkway Surfaces Subcommittee
  • International Code Council (ICC)
  • National Safety Council – Robson Forensic corporate membership
  • Former Member – Historic Preservation Commission – Dallas, Georgia

v. 01/11/24