There is growing documentation of the urgent need to identify and eliminate administrative inefficiencies in the regulation of the design and construction of buildings. Lessons learned from hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the Blue Cascades III exercise have exposed the need for:
While some groups are making modifications in our building codes and standards to address “lessons learned” from 9/11 and recent natural disasters, such changes will affect only certain types of buildings and take three to six years to be adopted and enforced. Codes administration and enforcement programs touch all types of construction and streamlining changes can make significant improvements in effectiveness and efficiency within a year.
The results are impressive in areas where streamlining (often coupled with upgrading information technology) has been conducted. The state of Florida now is able to centrally provide emergency building permit issuing services to devastated localities. Regulatory costs of construction have been reduced by up to 60%, and building departments have increased construction volume workloads. And Los Angeles managed an 88% increase in construction volume with a 3% increase in staff.
Streamlining was the subject of a March 20, 2006, meeting at the American Institute of Architects’ national headquarters that brought together representatives from national associations, government agencies and private sector firms. They suggested:
A Streamlining Work Group was appointed to develop a five- year vision statement and agenda for a high-level public private sector conference. An important feature will be to coordinate with the FIATECH Capital Projects Technology Roadmap. A draft statement and agenda will be released for review and comment in late May. Supporting this effort are 38 national organizations and government agencies.
A growing array of tools are coming on-line to help states and localities, such as The Infrastructure Security Partnership’s Guide for Regional Disaster Resilience, and the soon-to-be-released Guide to More Effective and Efficient Building Regulatory Processes Through Information Technology, from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.
Those of us in the streamlining initiative invite you to join this effort. Please contact me to receive materials and information on a proposed national conference.
ffective building codes and their efficient enforcement are vital to the safety of our citizens and the economic vitality of our communities. This has been amply illustrated by the U.S. Geological Survey report “Managing Risk in Earthquake Country,” marking the 100th anniversary of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, and by the April 27 follow-up session from the March 1-2, 2006 Blue Cascades III seismic disaster exercise in Bellevue, Wash.