Benjamin Hays, PE, SE, LEED AP, CBO
University Building Official
Senior Civil/Structural Engineer
Benjamin Hays is the University Building Official and Senior Civil & Structural Engineer for the Office of the University Building Official (OUBO). As Building Official, he directs a team of architects and engineers who are responsible for administering code compliance and providing technical review for all new construction and renovation work at UVa’s Central Grounds, the Hospital, College at Wise, and Blandy Experimental Farm. He additionally provides review oversight for all Civil and Structural engineering works at UVa. Ben is a regular lecturer in the School of Architecture with expertise in structures and the history of building technology.
Ben began his professional career as a design engineer in Los Angeles. His work there included historically-sensitive seismic upgrades to existing buildings, evaluations of film studios and technical campuses, and the design of high-end contemporary structures. He moved to Virginia in 2009 and expanded his design portfolio to include bridges, waterfront structures, and municipal buildings. Ben joined OUBO as the Senior Civil & Structural Engineer in 2011 and began teaching in the School of Architecture in 2014. His engineering work and historical-technical writing have won awards from professional societies and in research competitions.
Ben holds Civil and Structural engineering licenses in both Virginia and California, is a nationally ICC Certified Building Official, and is a LEED Associated Professional. He is a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, the Construction History Society of America, where he serves on the Management Committee.
Ben and his wife Emili have designed and restored several houses on both coasts and are actively engaged in the interests of their three children. Most weekends you will find Ben in his woodland garden, running on local trails, or hiking in the mountains with his family.
Christopher Barfield, CFO, CFI
Senior Fire Protection Engineer
Fire/Life Safety and Fire Suppression, Reviews and Inspections
Chris earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech. He is currently certified as a Fire Official, Fire Protection Plans Examiner, Commercial Building Inspector, Fire Protection Inspector, and Plans Examiner. He served as the Assistant Fire Marshal for Chesterfield County for 12 years performing commercial fire systems/non-structural plan reviews and fire system acceptance testing. When not at work, Chris enjoys music, family, and weight training.
Building Engineer Technician
Combination Building Inspections
Darin joined OUBO as a Combination Building Inspector in August 2019. As the University’s Combination Inspector, he provides inspections for all aspects of construction. He has 32 years of experience in the construction field and with the City of Charlottesville Inspection Department as a plan examiner and combination inspector. Darin is a state certified inspector and plan examiner for all trades. He also has served as acting building official and has assisted the City Fire Marshal with many building and fire investigations.
Darin has represented the local community at numerous National Code Hearings throughout his career. Additionally, he Teaches Plumbing, Mechanical and Fuel Gas Code classes at Valley Vocational for both fall and Spring semesters.
When Darin is away from work, he looks forward to a day antiquing with his wife or on the lake crappie fishing.
Katherine Grove, AIA, CBO, LEED AP
Sustainable Design Coordinator
Architectural, Egress, and ADA, Reviews and Inspections
Kathy provides Contract Document review, in-house consultation, value-management and on-site inspections for all UVA construction projects for building code and ADA compliance and best-practice constructability. She collaborates with project teams to implement UVA’s Green Building Standards, mentors students on sustainable water issues, and serves on the Committee on Sustainability.
Kathy has a Masters in Architecture with a Minor in Architectural History, is a LEED AP and a Certified Building Official. Before joining UVA, her career highlights include selecting safe, healthy construction materials for post-Katrina homes in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward; travelling to work on projects in Banff, Maui, and China; and designing multiple award-wining LEED and Passive House certified private homes. Kathy’s interest in the interaction of nature and the built environment inspires her choice of travel destinations and the design of her own city home and garden.
Ronald Herfurth, PE, CBO
Senior Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical and Plumbing, Reviews and Inspections
Ron joined the University of Virginia in 1988 and joined OUBO as Senior Mechanical Engineer in 1991. At OUBO he reviews mechanical and plumbing plans and specifications and participates in inspections of mechanical and plumbing systems. He also serves as in-house consultation for mechanical systems and participates in value management studies. Ron strives to make sure that all mechanical systems have the best first cost and life cycle cost possible.
Associate Fire Protection Engineer
Fire Rated Assemblies and Engineering Judgements, Reviews and Inspections
Rachelle joined the OUBO staff as Associate Fire Protection Engineer in 2019. Rachelle provides document reviews and inspections in the areas of Fire Protection with a focus on fire resistance rated construction, assemblies, and engineering judgements. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Penn State and has worked on as one of the construction managers with Facilities Planning and Construction since 2015. After college and before coming to work for the University, Rachelle worked in construction management around the state of Virginia. On weekends, you can find her with her husband on the sidelines of soccer fields around the state cheering on their two boys as they play in their county travel soccer league.
David T. Jones, PE, MPA
Senior Electrical Engineer
Electrical and Fire Alarm, Reviews and Inspections
David joined OUBO as Senior Electrical Engineer in December 2019. He has 25 years of electric utility experience, including 15 years of medium-voltage and low-voltage engineering and operations. At OUBO, he reviews plans and specifications and performs inspections for electrical and fire alarm systems.
David is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. He also maintains a Master Electrician license in Virginia that he earned through an apprenticeship at the Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School in 1992.
David is a veteran of the Marine Corps Reserve and the Navy Reserve, having served as an enlisted jet engine mechanic and as a Civil Engineering Corps officer attached to a Navy Reserve SeaBee Mobile Construction Battalion.
Nathan W. Lawson, EIT
Associate Civil/Structural Engineer
Civil and structural reviews, Combination inspections
Nathan reviews project documents for conformance to building code requirements and the University’s Facility Design Guidelines as they pertain to the civil and structural discipline. He is also a combination inspector certified in the state of Virginia and maintains a number of ICC certifications.
Before joining the OUBO family in late 2016 Nathan worked for a northern Virginia based consulting firm that specializes in enhancing facility life cycles and their building assets. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech, and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Currently he is an EIT working towards earning the Professional Engineer designation.
When away from the code books, Nathan enjoys hiking with his wife or working on the next home renovation project.
Document & Compliance Analyst
Questions about Project Review and Building Permit Status
Ruta joined the OUBO staff in the role of Document & Compliance Analyst in 2018. She had worked in the construction document archive, now part of Geospatial Engineering Services, with Garth Anderson since 2001.
In the early 1980s, Ruta studied and worked in Interior Design and Museum Exhibit Design in Boulder and Denver, Colorado. In 1986, she and her husband, a radio astronomer, moved to central New Mexico to be near the Very Large Array Radio Telescope, where they lived for a dozen years and raised a family. Design work was scarce in their small New Mexico town, so she switched gears and taught ceramics at the local community college, supplied a local gallery with her work, and worked part-time at the public library. The family enjoyed extended sabbaticals in the mountains of Japan and the outskirts of Paris. In late 2000, they re-settled in Charlottesville.
When at home, she enjoys gardening, hiking, and exploring the natural world. In 2019, she and her husband spent a week hiking on the West Highland Way in Scotland.
Robert A. Waite Jr., AIA, CBO
Architectural reviews, Egress and ADA Inspections, Small Project Reviews
Since 2010, Bob coordinates with Project Managers and helps them schedule the reviews for their projects, and distributes the reviews when they are complete. He assigns the processing of all building permits. He provides ADA compliance inspections and expertise when needed and assists in reviews for all disciplines for code compliance, constructability, ADA compliance, and compliance with UVa’s Facilities Design Guidelines. He has over 25 years of professional experience in architectural design, project management and code compliance inspections. He has experience in all types of building uses including health care facilities, residential and dining facilities, athletic facilities and classroom and laboratory facilities.
Bob is a registered Professional Architect in Virginia and holds certification with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development as a Residential Building Inspector, Combination Building Plans Examiner, and Certified Building Official.
Bob served with the US Army as a 1st Lieutenant with the 101st Airborne Division in the Republic of Vietnam, and he has over 720 skydives; although, he no longer jumps. He now enjoys more sedate, ground-bound interests such as music and cooking for his wife.