ALLIANCE NEWS RELEASE

 

For more information, contact:

Carolyn Fitch  (703) 481-2038

 

FORUM PRAISES STREAMLINING & IT ROLE IN ENHANCING NATIONíS
SAFETY & ECONOMY – CALLS FOR IMPLEMENTATION GRANTS & INTEROPERABLE HARDWARE/SOFTWARE FOR CODES ADMINISTRATION

October 28, 2003, Washington, D.C. & Portland, Oregon:

The credibility of government to deliver services to the public is at an all time low 
and must be reversed.

Unnecessary regulatory delays in the construction process can cost a firm building a large project up to $1 million a day in the time value of money and idle construction crews.

Interoperable hardware and software can speed up and increase the effectiveness
of the building regulatory process and connect jurisdictions in times of
natural and manmade disasters.

The streamlining projects undertaken by the Alliance and NCSBCS are
making visible improvements in the ways that a growing number of jurisdictions
are working more efficiently with their construction industry.

These and other statements supporting the work of the Alliance on Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age were offered by speakers during the opening presentations at the Third National Forum on Building Smarter in the Digital Age held in Portland, Oregon, October 20, 2003. The forum brought together state and local building regulatory officials and representatives from the information technology and construction industries to share Alliance work products, IT solutions and streamlining best practices that are helping jurisdictions reduce the regulatory cost of construction while enhancing the effectiveness of their building regulatory process.

The program featured four panel presentations. The opening panel on "Challenges of Development and Construction in the Digital Age – The Need for Regulatory Streamlining" featured representatives from Intel, Boeing, Marriott Corporation, ABHT Structural Engineers, IDC Architects and the Deputy City Manager of Hillsboro, Oregon.

The panelists and opening speaker, Portlandís Commissioner of Public Utilities, James Francesconi, offered the above quotes as a part of their remarks on the importance of regulatory streamlining to both public safety and the economic viability of our nation. The speakers also praised the work of the Alliance to identify and share streamlining best practices making more effective use of information technology in the building regulatory process and called for federal funding support in the way of implementation grants to speed the spread of the streamlining effort.

The State of Oregonís "One Stop Business Process Initiative" was the featured best practice during the Forum second panel. Panelists from the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon Business Council, Oregon Office of Regulatory Streamlining and Pac/West Communications offered attendees an inside look at the stakeholder cooperation and legislation enabling Oregon to initiate a multi-year statewide project to provide online permitting processes and other one-stop services to the construction industry.

Afternoon panel sessions during the Forum focused on updating attendees on the work products of the Alliance, including the recently initiated effort to develop a model interoperability statement for jurisdictions to include in future software procurements, and a look at "The Building Regulatory System in the Year 2020." The latter included a look at the Government of Singaporeís online plans review system and a dialogue with Stanford Universityís Dr. Martin Fischer, Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, on the impact of information technology over the next two decades on both the construction industry and the nationís building regulatory process.

Moderated by Dr. Paul Taylor, former Deputy Chief Information Officer for the State of Washington and current Strategic Analyst for the Center for Digital Government, the opening afternoon panel featured:

  • An overview of the outcome of the September 24, New York City Summit on "Streamlining the Nationís Building Regulatory Process Through Interoperability"
  • Updates on the Allianceís work products and streamlining materials.
  • Examples from software firms of the barriers which they are helping jurisdictions overcome in reviewing, funding, implementing and using information software to streamline their building regulatory process.
  • Sample building regulatory best practices using information technology from the State of California; Fairfax County, Virginia; City of Bellevue, Washington; and Ventura County, California.

Attendees at the Forum discussed actions that the public and private sector must take together to enhance public safety and the economic competitiveness in the nation. Among those actions was a call for the nationís two major building and fire codes and standards organizations, the International Codes Council (ICC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), to develop a single coordinated family of construction codes and standards for state and local governments to adopt and enforce.

Forum attendees also called for federally-funded matching streamlining implementation grants to speed the greater dissemination and use by state and local governments of Alliance streamlining materials including: a business case for regulatory streamlining; model procurement guidelines for governments to acquire information technology for use in their building regulatory processes; a draft interoperability statement being developed by the Alliance for use in future procurements; and sample streamlining processes being used in states and localities. Software industry representatives at the Forum requested Alliance Secretariat, NCSBCS, to establish a software/hardware industry committee that could provide input on interoperability and streamlining issues to state and local governments. (NCSBCS subsequently agreed to provide such a venue.)

The Forum was followed on Tuesday, October 21, with a work session of state and local governments on identifying the highest priority areas in their building regulatory processes that need to become interoperable.

The Third National Forum on Building Smarter in the Digital Age was a part of the four-day joint annual meeting of the National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards (secretariat to the Alliance) and the Association of Major City/County Building Officials. The joint annual meeting ran from October 19-22.

For more information on the Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age, including Alliance membership and work products mentioned in this release, visit the Allianceís portion of the NCSBCS website at www.ncsbcs.org.  You will also find there PowerPoint presentations given at the Third National Forum and additional information on the NCSBCS Information Technology Industry Advisory Subcommittee.

A public-private partnership, the Alliance was formed in July 2001 to enhance public safety and the nationís economic competitiveness by streamlining the nationís building regulatory process through the effective use of information technology. The Allianceís mission statement is to "enable the nationís construction industry to build faster, better, safer and at less cost."

Alliance members include: the National Governors Association, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National Association of State Chief Information Officers, National Institute of Standards and Technology, American Institute of Architects, Building Owners and Managers Association International, National Association of Home Builders, National Institute of Building Sciences and 25 other governmental agencies and construction industry associations. Funding support for the Alliance comes from in-kind services of Alliance members and grants from federal agencies including U.S. Department of Commerceís National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Secretariat services to the Alliance are provided by the National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards. NCSBCS was formed by the nationís governors in 1967 to provide a national forum in which government officials and the private sector can work together to address common concerns in the building regulatory process. NCSBCS provides technical support to the National Governors Association under an executive branch agreement.