NCGBCS paper looks at role of existing building codes in safety, security

by Brianna Crandall — January 18, 2017 — The National Institute of Building Sciences National Council of Governments on Building Codes and Standards (NCGBCS) issued a white paper last week focused on one of its priorities, that of using existing building codes to safely transform the nation’s building stock.

Existing buildings define the main streets and the skylines of the nation’s communities, points out the NCGBCS. Yet, as these communities evolve to address changes in their economy and populations, they do not always have the mechanisms in place to assure the safety and security of their citizens while providing building owners and developers a cost-effective means for updating the existing building stock to meet changing needs. Existing building codes provide just such a mechanism, asserts the group.

Communities across the United States are faced with decaying, blighted and vacant existing buildings, yet half of all states do not enforce existing building codes at the state level, says the NCGBCS.

In this white paper, the NCGBCS, in its effort to support high-performance buildings and communities, examines effective strategies for promoting the adoption of existing building codes, as well as developing and implementing educational and training programs for owners, builders, contractors, design professionals and code enforcers.

The group also addresses some of the implementation challenges and enforcement issues, and the technical changes necessary to improve future editions of the codes.

NCGBCS unveiled the white paper during its Annual Meeting, held last week during Building Innovation 2017: The National Institute of Building Sciences Fifth Annual Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C.

The white paper, The Role of Existing Building Codes in Safely, Cost-Effectively Transforming the Nation’s Building Stock, is available at no cost from the NIBS Web site.