International Code Council and RESNET create new voluntary certification for building safety industry

The International Code Council and the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) developed a new certification designation, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)/Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Compliance Specialist. This certification combines the energy code knowledge of code officials with the energy efficiency knowledge of HERS Raters to identify experts in energy plan review and inspection. The credential leverages the strengths of both organizations to increase the number of qualified individuals available for evaluating energy code compliance and home energy performance. The IECC/HERS Compliance Specialist designation verifies competence in energy performance measurement and energy code proficiency. These certified specialists can supplement the work of jurisdictions facing resource constraints that affect their ability to conduct the necessary reviews. IECC/HERS Compliance Specialists may now be used for both code compliance and energy performance rating services. Read more about this innovative program here.

Defense legislation leverages a model maintenance code to improve conditions in military housing

Congress recently passed and the President signed into law the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020, which authorizes funding and policies for U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) programs and requires that privatized military housing meet or exceed requirements set by a nationally recognized, consensus-based, model property maintenance code, such as the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). Separately, DOD recently updated its building code, the Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC), to use the 2018 International Building Code, 2018 International Existing Building Code and 2018 International Plumbing Code. The UFC had previously required using the 2015 versions of these codes. The UFC establishes common requirements for DOD construction activities, and addresses safety, functionality and durability. Read more about these actions here.

ICC joins stake holders in U.S. House testimony on the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program

Virtually every state of our nation experiences some variety of windstorm, and from 1980 to 2017, these natural disasters have resulted in over 5,000 fatalities and $1 trillion in economic losses. That’s why recent testimony from ICC and stake holders before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittees on Research and Technology and Environment stressed support for the reauthorization of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP). The program is implemented through a coordinated effort between federal agencies, academia, and private sector organizations such as the International Code Council. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Science Foundation are all participants. The program supports the development, adoption and enforcement of building codes and other mitigation strategies. “Building codes have been recognized as a highly cost-effective hazard mitigation measure,” Ryan Colker, ICC Vice President of Innovation and Executive Director of the Alliance for National and Community Resilience (ANCR). “We stand ready to support this Committee and the NWIRP agencies in achieving shared goals of better understanding windstorms and assessing and reducing their impacts.” The Congressionally-established National Institute of Building Sciences found that adopting the 2018 International Building Code and International Residential Code, which govern commercial and residential construction and renovations, provided $10 in mitigation benefits against hurricane winds for every $1 invested. Click here to read the full story

Advisory Council urges FEMA to partner with ICC to protect safety and property with current codes

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) statutorily established National Advisory Council (NAC) recently urged the agency to partner with ICC to raise awareness of codes’ mitigation benefits. The report recommended FEMA to encourage up-to-date codes in grant programs that improve community preparedness and resilience. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Congress required the establishment of the NAC—a 35 member cross-section of officials, emergency managers, and emergency response providers from state, local, tribal and territorial governments, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations—to advise FEMA. The Code Council participates in the NAC’s recommendation development process and presented before the NAC in October. According to FEMA, roughly two-thirds of communities that face hazard risk have not adopted hazard resistant codes. Many studies have demonstrated the extensive loss avoidance benefits current codes provide. Read more here about this ongoing effort

2020 budget packages have several appropriations that are important to America’s built environment.

The U.S. Congress recently passed and President Donald Trump signed into law two spending packages for fiscal year 2020, including an appropriations agreement which funds several programs that benefit the building safety industry and which the International Code Council supported through engagement with lawmakers. They include:

  • A $100 million increase to $3.4 billion total for the Community Development Block Grant Program, which funds code adoption and enforcement activities at the state and local levels.
  • A $167 million increase in funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The Institute’s Science and Technical Research and Services received a $29.5 million boost over current levels. NIST’s disaster resilience grants were preserved and current funding levels will allow NIST’s premise plumbing research to continue.
  • An $80 million increase in FEMA preparedness grants to $2.9 billion, including a $35 million increase to $560 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program and a $5 million increase to $355 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, staffing for an adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grant Program, and Emergency Management Performance Grant Program, respectively.
  • A $20 million increase to $1.26 billion for Perkins career and technical education state grants.
  • A $1.6 million increase to $4.5 million for WaterSense, which the International Green Construction Code leverages and which is supported by both the International Accreditation Service and ICC Evaluation Service products.
  • A $3 million increase to $10 million for the Department of Energy’s Building Energy Codes Program, which supports the development and implementation of the IECC.

The appropriations legislation also extends from December 31, 2017, to December 31, 2020, the 45L tax credit for new homes that are 50 percent more efficient than the 2006 IECC and, over the same period, the 179D tax deduction for efficiency improvements to commercial buildings. The Code Council looks forward to continuing to work with the federal government, our members and our partners to aid in efforts to improve building safety and resilience. To read the FEMA spending agreement, click here. The remaining spending bills may be accessed here, and the tax provisions, here.

April 1 is the deadline to submit applications for the prestigious Emory R. Rodgers Fellowship

The deadline to submit applications to receive the 2020 Emory R. Rodgers Leadership in Building Safety Fellowship Award is April 1. Emory R. Rodgers spent more than four decades devoting himself to the building safety profession and to the creation and ongoing development of the International Codes. As a leader in the industry and in the Code Council community, he put forth unprecedented efforts in educating and preparing the next generation of building safety professionals. This Fellowship is available annually to a building safety professional, who has embarked upon a demonstrated executive-level career path, and wants to further develop leadership skills through an eligible executive development program. The Fellowship will afford up to $20,000 dollars to cover the full cost of the educational program and the award recipient’s travel to and from the program. The 2019 recipient of the award was Chris Landreth, Supervising Building and Fire Inspector for the City of Tracy, Calif. Read more here.

DOE report announces that 2018 International Energy Conservation Code helps produce cost savings

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will improve energy efficiency in residential buildings. In support of this determination, DOE conducted technical analysis evaluating the impacts of the updated code relative to the previous 2015 edition. DOE estimates national savings of approximately:

  • 1.97 percent energy cost savings
  • 1.91 percent source energy savings
  • 1.68 percent site energy savings

Additional related information is available at Regulations.gov. Upon publication of an affirmative determination, states are required to certify that they have reviewed the provisions of their residential building code regarding energy efficiency, and made a determination as to whether it is appropriate for them to revise their code to meet or exceed the updated edition of the IECC. Click here for a Building Safety Journal news feature on the IECC authored by Michelle Britt, ICC Director of Energy Programs.

Master Code Professional status gaining popularity and gets a new look with an official MCP jacket

With the creation of a special jacket, the ICC Master Code Professional status is getting a new look as well as its own webpage on the ICC website. Other updates for MCPs include:

  • Updated wall certificate
  • Updated pin
  • Updated welcome letter
  • Sample press release

About 800 code professionals have achieved the Master Code Professional status. The Building Safety Journal recently featured this new MCP, Gregory Horsfall, Building Inspector III, Placerville, Calif.

Preliminary results of Group B voting in person and online have been announced by the Code Council

With the completion of the 2019 Group B Public Committee Hearings in Las Vegas October 23-30 and the post-hearings online voting, the International Code Council recently released the preliminary results which will shape the 2021 International Codes. Click here to see those preliminary results. Keep in mind they are not final as they have yet to be certified by the Validation Committee and confirmed by the ICC Board of Directors (in accordance with Section 10.1 of Council Policy 28 Code Development). The post-hearings online voting, formally known as the Online Governmental Consensus Vote (OGCV), was conducted November 19 to December 6. The 2019 Group B Final Action results, including vote tallies from the OGCV, will be posted following certification in accordance with Section 10.4 of CP 28.

Safer Buildings, Safer Communities, Safer World” is the theme of 40th annual Building Safety Month

May is Building Safety Month for the International Code Council and for communities around the world. But what makes the 2020 Building Safety Month special is it marks its 40th anniversary. Building Safety Month has grown to involve a broad coalition of partners and supporters. It raises awareness about the importance of building codes and a strong system of code enforcement so that homeowners, government officials and the public have the necessary information for ensuring safety in the spaces where they live, work and learn. The Code Council, its 64,000 members, and a range of construction and design professionals participate in this campaign to highlight the importance of building safety though proclamations, informational events, legislative briefings and more. The weekly themes for 2020 are:

  • Week One, May 1-10: Disaster Preparedness
  • Week Two, May 11-17: Water Safety
  • Week Three, May 18-24: Resiliency. Sustainability. Innovation.
  • Week Four, May 25-31: Training the Next Generation

Corporate sponsorship opportunities are available. International partners include the Australian Building Codes Board, Building Officials Institute of New Zealand and the Ontario Building Officials Association. For more information about the campaign, visit www.buildingsafetymonth.org and click here to download the campaign poster. Follow along on social media using the hashtag #BuildingSafety365.