City Desk

The “Believer in the Code” Makes His Rounds

As a construction consultant, Carlos Iglesias spends a lot of time checking things. He started working at sites as a 12-year-old, assisting his dad with carpentry work. At 16, he apprenticed with an architect, and began reading D.C.'s building code books like they were old testament scrolls.

"I'm a believer in the code," he says today. "It's like being a believer in the constitution."

Talking with Iglesias, I feel like I'm being proselytized into a strange, bureaucratic religion.

After arriving at the construction site—we are visiting a small condo project near the intersection of 14th Street and Colorado Avenue—Iglesias and I head to the basement. There, he points out some average issues he's had to deal with:


Behind Iglesias is an additional sewage pipe, not in earlier plans. Above him, there's also a new HVAC output duct. He advised builders to make both changes.

They did.


As Iglesias is talking, I am writing notes. Often when one writes notes, one's eyes divert down to the page. Luckily, I glance up just in time to notice I am half a step from walking into this pipe. The day is about to go from average to painful and possibly messy.

Thankfully, it stays average.


The construction project sits next to a residential building. Back in early October, residents there complained about the project, saying that developers were trying raze the entire structure. This wasn't the case. But the city stopped construction for an entire month.

After checking out back and in the basement, we leave the construction site. People are working. There are no red flags for Iglesias about anything that's been accomplished since he last stepped onto the site.

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  • John Grunwell

    Hey! That's my unit in the fourth picture, third up from the top of the fence, with the a/c unit in the block of five windows. I wish there was a code that prohibited concrete machines being turned on before 7:30 AM on weekdays and 9:30 on weekends.

    That said, I've occasionally observed the crew working on this project, and I must say: they are fast and PHENOMENALLY hard workers. I can't imagine the caloric energy it takes to make a (thus far) four-story building by hand, cinder block by cinder block.

    ESPECIALLY with an enchanted silvery-gray housecat staring at you, willing you to do its evil feline bidding.

  • SG

    Is this where the Colorado Kitchen used to be? Did they demolish the old retail structures?