by Brianna Crandall — January 22, 2018 — The National Institute of Building Sciences National Council on Building Codes and Standards (NCBCS) recently issued a new white paper asserting that a key participant is often overlooked in the early stages of working toward high–performance buildings.
In recent years, building owners and communities have increasingly focused on improving the design, construction and operation of buildings to meet enhanced levels of performance. People within the building industry recognize the role that increased collaboration during the design and construction process can play in realizing the desired levels of performance. However, the collaborative process, to date, largely leaves out one important participant — the code official, says NCBCS.
Many communities are adopting customer-service focused models to engage with their citizens. The code department can and should serve as a shining example of a customer-centered municipal function, while maintaining its important mission of assuring community safety. The code department’s historic and long-standing charge of ensuring health, safety and welfare is synonymous with community growth, development and prosperity, notes NCBCS.
Involving code officials, such as building, fire, mechanical and plumbing officials, early in the project provides the project team with comprehensive client services while helping to deliver predictable enforcement expectations. This initial engagement creates a link between stakeholders, economic development and health, safety and welfare by involving the relevant authorities.
NCBCS undertook an effort in 2017 to examine the benefits of involving code officials early in building projects and how jurisdictions and code departments could begin engaging earlier in the design process.
In the white paper, the NCBCS looks at shifting the paradigm, offers suggestions for implementation and addresses potential challenges. The paper also includes a draft meeting agenda for jurisdictions to reference when setting up initiation meetings with teams when beginning new projects.
NCBCS unveiled the white paper at its Annual Meeting, held during Building Innovation 2018: The National Institute of Building Sciences Sixth Annual Conference and Expo in Washington, DC.
The white paper, Engaging Code Officials Early in the Process to Achieve High-Performance Buildings, is available to view at no cost on the NIBS Web site.