ALLIANCE FOR BUILDING REGULATORY REFORM IN THE DIGITAL AGE
NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP TO STREAMLINE GOVERNMENT

December 28, 2006

A FIVE YEAR VISION STATEMENT FOR ENHANCED PUBLIC SAFETY, ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS AND DISASTER RESLIENCY THROUGH STREAMLINING

-  PROPOSED ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF A NATIONAL STREAMLINING INITIATIVE -  JANUARY, 2007 – JANUARY, 2012

 

PROBLEM STATEMENT:

In the United States today, regulations governing the design and construction of buildings contribute up to 20% of the cost of construction.  Where they are effectively and efficiently enforced building codes and standards can assure adequate public safety and stimulate economic development in our nation.

Where they are not: 

Economic development has been choked off over lack of affordable housing

Major corporations have relocated their headquarters or chosen to expand production facilities in other jurisdictions, regions of the nation (or overseas).

A single day’s delay caused by the regulatory process has added an additional $100,000 to the cost of constructing mid-rise commercial structures.  Annually such delays cost the public and private sector over $30 billion in added costs.

Homes and commercial structures subjected to natural or man-made disasters are more severely damaged or destroyed than otherwise would have been the case.

Conflicts between Federal, state and local construction, land use and environmental regulations have slowed down disaster recovery and reconstruction in the wake of recent large scale natural disasters. 

Further complicating matters are the fact that the regulation of the design and construction of buildings are carried out by approximately 40,000 different jurisdictions in this nation, most of which operate using processes and administrative procedures little changed in over fifty years.  These jurisdictions collectively enforce literally thousands of variations in the content and interpretation of our nation’s model construction codes.

 

A VISION STATEMENT:  IN FIVE YEAR’S TIME:

*  Losses of property and life from manmade natural disasters will be reduced through an increase in the number of jurisdictions adopting and enforcing building codes with disaster mitigation provisions.

*  the nation will annually save over $30 billion in unnecessary construction costs

* public safety, infrastructure, technological innovation, and disaster resilience will be increased through regulatory streamlining which identifies and eliminates areas of overlap, duplication, conflict and inefficiency in the building and land use regulatory processes.

Streamlining is the MORE effective and efficient enforcement of statutes, rules, regulations, processes, and procedures adopted by all levels of government.   Streamlining is NOT regulatory abandonment.

 

PROPOSED MISSION STATEMENT FOR INITIATIVE -   

By 2012, working together the public and private sector partners of this national streamlining initiative will:

Strengthen national disaster resilience and economic competitiveness of the United States by identifying best practices and facilitating their implementation to streamline the building and land use regulatory processes to deliver services that make construction safer, more predictable, timely, and less costly through the identification and elimination of areas of regulatory overlap, duplication and the use of integrated technologies, processes and procedures.  

Streamlining will:    

–  Annually save the public and private sectors over $30 billion in unnecessary construction costs do to regulatory duplication, time delays and other inefficiencies by reducing between 40%-60% the amount of time it takes to move construction projects through the regulatory system.

–  Create greater enforcement uniformity enabling state and local governments to make effective use of information technology and link and use 3 & 4 D building design (as built) and other data generated by the building design and construction community.

–  Create greater code and enforcement uniformity enabling state and local governments to work together on a regional basis to better plan, train, mitigate, respond to and recover from man-made and natural disasters.

–  Identify and eliminate or reduce prior to disasters those Federal, state and local statutes, rules, regulations, processes and procedures that impede reconstruction, saving minimum of  3-6 months of recovery time.

 

SPECIFIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS BY JANUARY, 2012 TO BRING ABOUT THE FOLLOWING CHNAGES IN THE NATION’S BUILDING REGULATORY, ZONING AND LAND USE SYSTEMS:  

A   -  IN DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS:  

1.   MAKE THE SYSTEM PREDICTABLE & TIMELY

Enable jurisdictions to adopt best practices and have on-line descriptions as to how their regulatory process works: time frames, statutes, rules, regulations processes and procedures and tracking mechanisms for permits, plans, and inspections.

Increase number of on-line services in jurisdictions including:
Permitting, plans submittal, tracking and review, scheduling inspections, mobile field inspections and receipt of inspection results.


Provide state and local governments with tools to assess and enhance effectiveness and efficiency of their programs -  supporting adequate staffing & training and availability of interoperable hardware and software that will:
           
- Reduce the amount of time in regulatory process by 40-60%
  
- Reduce banking costs of carrying the project through regulatory delays

- Reduce/eliminate building regulatory system caused delays in “time to market” for products and services produced within that community

- Identify and reduce or eliminate conflicting Federal/state/local statutes, rules regulations processes and procedures that add confusion, delay and cost  to construction.

2   PROVIDE EFFECTIVE INTERFACE WITH CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY – DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, PRODUCTS, PROCESSES, OPERATION AND BUILDING MAINTENACE

         
Support efforts by FIATECH*, ICC,* NIBS,* IAI* and others to facilitate jurisdictions using industry generated 3 D – 4D construction design data directly into permit processing, plans review and inspection processes using interoperable hardware/software that includes introduction and first uses of model codes and standards plan check tools.

Integration of regulatory system with BIM* & FIATECH Capital Projects Technology Roadmap

More rapid sharing of information on new products, materials and construction processes and sharing of installation requirements

* FIATECH – Fully Integrated Advanced Technology
* ICC -  International Code Council – SMARTCode project
* National Institute of Building Sciences
* International Alliance for Interoperability
* BIM – Building Information Modeling
 

3. IMPROVE PUBLIC SAFETY THROUGH MORE EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT ENFORCEMENT OF CODES AND STANDARDS

-   Improve:

*  life safety, energy conservation, environmental quality, accessibility for disabled community,

*  ability of structures to withstand natural disasters to levels covered within the adopted code and

*  uniformity and compatibility between all of the above requirements.
          
4. – ACHIEVE BTTER INTEGRATION OF DATA BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND BETWEEN LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT – E.G. BUILDING & PLANNING DEPARTMENTS

-  Areas of regulatory overlap, duplication and conflict between state, regional and local land use and zoning requirements will be identified and model processes to remove or reduce these inefficiencies will be provided to government and the construction community

-  Achieve interoperability of data generated and used by building regulatory and the zoning and land use processes.

 

B.   IN DISATER MITIGATION, RESPONSE, RECOVERY AND SUPPORT OF REGIONAL DISASTER RESILIENCE BY:

 

1.  FACILITATING THE PRODUCTION OF MORE DISASTER RESILIENT BUILDINGS

- More effective and efficient codes administration and enforcement assures construction of buildings to mandated disaster resistance provisions of adopted codes ( for new and existing buildings), reducing the vulnerability of interdependent infrastructure.
 
-  Bring more structures into compliance with minimum disaster resistance                provisions.

-  Reduce energy consumption in buildings through more effective                enforcement of existing energy codes

 

2.  SUPPORTING ADEQUATE BUILDING DEPARTMENT STAFFING/
TRAINING/ AND ACCESS DURING AND AFTER DISASTERS TO PREQUALIFIED TRAINED PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR PERSONNEL FROM OUTSIDE THE REGION BY:

- Facilitating more effective use of existing staff and identifying and reducing unnecessary barriers to accessing and using qualified public and private sector professionals from other regions of the nation to provide manpower for disaster damage assessment and recovery.

-   Facilitating the acquisition by jurisdictions prior to a disaster of information technologies that facilitate rapid response and recovery

 

3. INCREASING EFFECTIVE USE OF MANPOWER AND I.T. TOGETHER TO SPEED:

- Damage assessments (increase # performed by 50%)

-  Demolition (increase speed of decision and action)

-  Reconstruction (increase speed of regulatory side by 40-60%):

-  issuance of permits

-  plans review and tracking

-  conducting of inspections

-  issuance of certificates of occupancy

4.. ELIMINATING/REDUCING PRIOR TO DISASTERS THOSE REGUALTORY CONFLECTS THAT IMPEDE RESONSE AND RECOVERY

Identify and take cooperative action between Federal, State and local governments and their agencies to reduce/eliminate statutes, rules, regulations, processes and procedures that unnecessarily delay demolition and reconstruction of buildings, speeding recovery and    enabling people to get back into their homes and businesses earlier.

(A reduction of overlap and conflict can save minimum of 3 to 6 months off of the recovery process, getting housing and businesses open faster)


ABOUT THE ALLIANCE:

The above vision is the outcome of the work of the Streamlining Work Group of the Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age -  a public-private partnership assembled in the summer of 2001.

The Alliance was formed in July, 2001, as a private-public partnership comprised of national associations, organizations representing state and local governments, the construction industry and universities concerned with effective and efficient government enforcement of building codes and standards.   Among the 40 national partners of the Alliance are:   U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National Governors Association, American Institute of Architects, National Association of Home Builders, Associated General Contractors, Building Owners and Managers Association, FIATECH, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Energy and several state and local governments.

In the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane season Alliance partners began a series of meetings to restructure and refocus this initiative to speed the streamlining of the nation’s construction regulatory process.   Those meetings identified additional streamlining needs and lead to a decision by Alliance partners in a meeting at the American Institute of Architects in mid-March, 2006 to: 

   1.  expand of the Alliance’s original mission to include streamlining of zoning and land use regulations and develop a 5 Year Vision Statement for streamlining.

   2.  allow private sector firms to become Alliance partners.

   3. bring greater focus on the impact that streamlining can have on enhancing the ability of state and local governments to better prepare for, respond to and recover from man-made and natural disasters.

   4. consider developing and holding a high level national conference on streamlining to provide greater structure to this effort.

 

INVITATION TO DISCUSS / ADOPT THE FIVE YEAR VISION –  NATIONAL STREAMLINING CONFERENCE –  FEBRUARY 15-16, 2007

February 15-16, 2007 the Alliance members and other interested organizations, governmental agencies and companies will participate in a high level national streamlining conference to consider the adoption and establishing of a structure to implement this Five Year Vision.   The conference is being held at the National Association of Home Builders Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

A separate paper on detailing the background for and providing the agenda for the “National Streamlining Conference – Setting a Course for Change” are available on the Alliance/National Partnership website:

www.natlpartnerstreamline.org or by contacting the Alliance’s Director, Robert Wible at rcwible@comcast.net, or by calling him at:  703-568-2323.   

 



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