Building & Inspection Manager
Happy New Year!- The new year typically brings a change in chapter leadership. When you have new officers, please complete the Chapter Officer Update Form either on-line or by fax/mail. The form is found on www.iccsafe.org under government relations/chapter information. I can then update my email list and send future ICC Reports to the new Chapter President.
Budget- The International Code Council Board of Directors met on December 19-20, 2008 and approved the 2009 calendar year ICC budget. ICC is facing the same issues our members and businesses are facing. Our revenues have significantly declined. Fortunately, we built a reserve and reduced expenditures early on. However, the revenue loss is projected to be more than the reduced expenditures and reserve can offset. Like many jurisdictions and businesses, employee costs are a major portion of the budget. Unfortunately, ICC has laid off many employees…all very dedicated and professional folks. With significantly fewer staff, there will be reductions in service. The Board and staff worked hard to establish a budget that continues to provide the best possible service given the difficult economic times. These times are an opportunity to foster new ideas and develop new ways of doing business.
Chapter Training Benefit- The Board and staff want to keep some form of chapter training benefit. The proposal is to provide a complimentary Chapter Benefit Webinar. I heard many favorable comments about the two CALBO/ICC webinars offered in December. Several prefer the flexibility of webinars over the classroom seminars. Look for more details from ICC staff. I welcome your suggestions.
Code Hearing Appeals- The ICC Board of Directors denied the appeals filed on code changes dealing with fire sprinklers and carbon dioxide alarms. The result is that code changes RB64, RB66, and RB71 approved by the voting members in Minneapolis will be included in the 2009 International Residential Code. Residential fire sprinklers and carbon monoxide detectors will be required in accordance with these code changes. Under ICC Council Policy #1, the Appeals Board could only consider substantive or procedural issues with the process, not the technical merits. The Appeals Board heard these appeals in early December and sent a unanimous recommendation to the ICC Board to deny both appeals.
President’s Advisory Committee- I reported previously that Barbara Koffron and I were appointed in September to a five-person board committee advising the President on select issues. The Board heard recommendations from our committee on proposed changes to council policies and the bylaws. We are also working on a sponsorship policy and a code of ethics. The committee will finalize our recommendations, present them to the Board, and circulate to the membership for feedback.
2009 ICC Codes- All 2009 ICC codes should be ready for shipping in March 2009. You may preorder the codes or register on the ICC website for notification when the codes are available. Remember the special chapter discount for bulk orders. The deadline for code proposals to the 2012 Codes has been moved back to April 24, 2009. This will provide more time between the publication of the codes and the code proposal deadline…obviously leading to better code proposals. The new 2009/2010 Code Development Schedule is posted on the ICC website. To help understand the 2009 Codes, there are two ICC webinars: 2009 IBC Update on January 30, 2009; and, 2009 IRC Update on February 5, 2009. The Codes Forum in New Orleans, March 23-25, 2009 will have sessions on the 2009 Codes, green building, disaster response, hazard mitigation, and more.
FEMA, ICC sign MOU- FEMA and ICC signed a memorandum of understanding to support the maintenance, adoption, outreach, training, and enforcement of disaster-resistant building safety codes to reduce human and economic losses resulting from natural hazards. Look for more joint efforts in this important area.
ICC ES PMG Program- The ICC ES Plumbing, Mechanical, and Fuel Gas listing program received accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Code Development Process- And now….I saved the best for last! I have had the opportunity to Chair the Task Force on Hearings, which spent three years gathering and analyzing data, developing proposals, seeking member feedback, and making changes to the ICC code development process. The committee was discharged, not for the reason of completing the work, but in order to elevate the importance to the full ICC Board. With the help of others, I presented a report at the December ICC Board meeting proposing modifications to the code development process. One item already implemented is that CD’s of the proposed changes and final action agendas will be sent to the distribution list….no more large volume sets, unless you ask to pay the cost of printing and shipping. I received approval from the Board to continue working with our expert staff and finalize the proposal by the end of January 2009. The Board intends to act soon thereafter on this proposal.
I categorize the changes we have implemented so far as “fine tuning the code development process.” The changes recently endorsed in concept by the Board are significant. If implemented, the new process will achieve many stated objectives, including the two major ones: reducing the length of the Code Development Hearings and Final Action Hearings; and, allow all governmental member representatives and honorary members to determine the final content of the ICC Codes. The Code Development Hearings and Annual Meeting are fixed for Baltimore…all 18 days from October 24 – November 11, 2009. If approved, there will be a transition to the new process in 2010. I will provide the complete report after the Board has acted on the final proposal. Look for more details in my next report.