Enhancing Public Safety & Economic Competitiveness by Building Faster, Better, Safer and at Less Cost

A Welcome to the Alliance from
NCSBCS President Thomas R. Joachim

June 1, 2004


Dear Governors, Mayors, County Officials and Construction Community Leaders:

The 44 national members and affiliates of the Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age, including the National Governors Association, National Association of Counties, and U. S. Conference of Mayors, are pleased to provide you with this third annual report on the activities and work products of the Alliance, "Building Faster, Better, Safer and At Less Cost".

Our nation's construction industry represents one of the largest segments of our economy. Over 70% of our national wealth is in buildings. Our construction industry stimulates the nation's economy and it shelters our people where they live, work and play. To help assure the economic viability of our nation and provide adequate public safety, the building regulatory system that oversees construction must be both effective and efficient. Where these systems are not effective and efficient, they have been documented to add up to $100,000 a day in additional costs to builders of large commercial and multi-family buildings.

The Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age is a public-private partnership established in the summer of 2001 as the outcome of the National Forum on Building Smarter in the Digital Age held in Arlington, Virginia. The Forum brought together the construction, building regulatory, and information technology communities to set an action agenda to enhance public safety and economic competitiveness by streamlining the nation's building regulatory process through the use of information technology.

To date 44 national organizations, governments, and educational institutions have joined the Alliance to support its adopted objective of enabling our construction industry to build "faster, better, safer, and at less cost."

This CD-ROM report provides your state, city, or county with an update on the accomplishments of the Alliance during its third year of operation and copies of Alliance work products. (Please click on "How to Use the Information Provided on this CD" for an overview of the materials provided.) Alliance streamlining materials are now being used in a number of jurisdictions, saving themselves and their construction industry as much as 40% of their previous building regulatory compliance costs. Work products found on this CD-ROM for your consideration are:

  1. Model procurement requirements (including an interoperability statement) for state and local governments to use when acquiring hardware and software for use in their building regulatory processes. (This model has been endorsed by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers – NASCIO.)
  2. A Business Case for Regulatory Streamlining describing the $15 billion in annual savings to the nation's construction industry through regulatory streamlining.
  3. A HUD-funded cost/benefit matrix for home builders and jurisdictions to use to ascertain savings achieved by building the same home in two jurisdictions – one that has streamlined its building regulatory process using I.T. and the other that has not.
  4. Criteria for yet to be federally-funded matching grants to state and local governments to streamline their building regulatory processes.
  5. Proceedings and work products for interoperability that came from a meeting funded by the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), Summit on Streamlining the Building Regulatory Process through Interoperability held in New York City in September 2003.
  6. An overview of the diverse regulatory processes that a citizen must go through to build a home in this country (Cindy Builds a House).
  7. Model streamlining enabling legislation and regulatory processes.

In addition, this CD-ROM provides web access to:

  1. Listings of jurisdictions using information technology and the hardware and software that are now available to state and local governments.
  2. Results of a joint Alliance/AIA survey of both jurisdictions and the information technology community on their current use or plans to use hardware/software to submit and track building plans online.

The report also outlines the future activities of the Alliance. This includes plans for a second Summit on Streamlining the Building Regulatory Process Through Interoperability and a fourth National Forum on Building Smarter in the Digital Age to be held September 30 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

As President of NCSBCS, it has been a distinct honor for our association to provide administrative support to the Alliance and produce this third annual report with the funding from federal partners, U. S. Department of Energy and National Institute of Standards and Technology.  I hope that your administration will take advantage of the Alliance's work products and support the fulfillment of its action agenda and mission to better protect your citizens and enhance the economic competitiveness of your state or community.

Should you have any questions concerning the work of the Alliance, please contact NCSBCS Executive Director Robert Wible via e-mail, rwible@ncsbcs.org or phone at 703-437-0100, ext. 235.


Thomas R. Joachim (MN)
President, NCSBCS