ALLIANCE FOR BUILDING REGULATORY REFORM IN THE DIGITAL AGE —
NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP TO STREAMLINE GOVERNMENT—
www.natlpartnerstreamline.org

Welcome to this website and the Streamlining Imperative

Over the past 15 years, a growing number of jurisdictions, supported by forward thinking officials, the construction industry and building owners have successfully streamlined portions of the building construction and land use regulatory systems to stimulate economic recovery, growth, public safety and disaster resiliency. This website describes the imperative behind such changes, looks at progress being made, offers examples of successful streamlining efforts and provides access to resources to help your community take similar actions.


THE CONTINUED ECONOMIC AND PUBLIC SAFETY IMPERATIVE

The recovery from the "Great Recession" of 2007-2009 has been slow and painful for most of the nation. By late 2016 the United States was back to pre-recession job numbers and construction starts; the construction crane finally returning as our national bird.

While they appear brighter than the last decade, the years immediately ahead are not without challenges which demand even greater emphasis on a regulatory system which is rational, efficient, and enhances public safety. Among the challenges which face us are:

  • Effectively dealing with the continued pressures on elected officials to shrink the size of state and local government while at the same time providing quality and more timely services.
  • Assuring that the private and public sector can expand upon recent progress in making our regulatory system collaborative and not adversarial
  • Strengthening the ability of the regulatory system at all levels of government to speed the permitting, plan review and inspection processes to get safe buildings up and on the tax rolls sooner promoting both continued economic growth and disaster resiliency.
  • Addressing the "brain drain" as up to 80% of our existing building regulatory officials retire in the next 15 years, 30% in the next 5. What will happen to institutional memory? The understanding of the why behind previsions in our codes and standards?
  • Identifying and attracting new professionals into both the construction and building regulatory fields and engaging qualified young professionals to become building officials for more than just the major traditional reason of "job security."
  • Successfully addressing how new technologies will impact the code enforcement profession.
  • Enabling new construction materials, technologies and processes to be safely adopted and used.
All of this requires thoughtful regulatory streamlining—and by streamlining we have never meant regulatory abandonment.

Instead streamlining means a rational, collaborative approach towards identifying and eliminating or greatly reducing regulatory processes and programs which are inefficient, ineffective and based upon a "gotchya" mentality that grew up in the second-half of the previous century. It also means looking and applying new technologies which can enable the construction industry and building regulatory community to work better together—building faster, safer, better and at less cost.

Consider the following:

Working together jurisdictions and the construction industry over the past few years have developed and adopted technologies and processes which are reducing the amount of time a building is in the regulatory process by up to 80%. Among these technologies and processes are:

  • Over 500 state and local jurisdictions now are conducting plan reviews electronically—speeding plan review times by up to 50%, facilitating simultaneous reviews, reducing/eliminating paper and reprint costs, and paving the way for electronic plan review of BIM.
  • Nearly 30% of our nation's 34,000 plus local jurisdictions have adopted some form of technology (ePermitting, ePlan review, Interactive Voice Response systems, mobile inspection devices, cloud libraries) to improve customer experience and speed construction reviews and approvals (Up from only 10% in 2005).
  • The ICC Guideline for Replicable Buildings in some states can provide single statewide plan review for replicable commercial and residential structures.
  • Availability and first use of drones to speed immediate post disaster surveys.

And what about the next steps? Where is your community?

The above improvements have occurred in spite of and in some cases because of the Great Recession. The 2007-09 Recession challenged every jurisdiction to provide improved regulatory services while at the same time undergoing significant reductions in staff—in some cases as large as 70%.

In the early 2000's regulatory streamlining and adoption of innovative technologies was seen as "a good idea." By 2005 only 10% of the nation's 34,000 state and local jurisdictions had adopted one or more technologies to improve productivity and reduce construction compliance costs and times. The adoption of such technologies was slow.

The pressures of the Great Recession, however, provided the sea change which made streamlining and use of innovative technologies not just a good idea but an IMPERATIVE. To weather and then recover from the recession, successful jurisdictions across the nation turned to proven technologies and streamlined processes to help get buildings up or renovated more quickly even with greatly reduced staffing levels from the boom times of the 1990's and early 2000's. Getting these buildings up safely and more quickly putting them on the tax rolls sooner for their communities helped generate a snowball effect initially towards recovery and over the past few years contributing to significant economic growth.

With recovery behind us, but the above listed challenges all before us what are the next steps? Where does your community stand in terms of streamlining and using proven technologies and processes? Where do you stand in fulfilling the challenge of effective streamlining?

SHAPING THE THINGS TO COME—The Vision 2020 Goal

Adopted in 2006 the following Vision Statement of the Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age called upon the public and private sectors to work together by 2020 to:

  • Stimulate economic recovery and community sustainability by reducing unnecessary construction code regulations and time delays in the regulatory process by 50-70%
  • Create greater enforcement uniformity enabling state and local governments to use technologies including on-line permit processing, mobile field inspection and then electronic plan review to start and conduct 3 D and 4 D building design.
  • Create greater code and enforcement uniformity enabling state and local governments to work together on a regional basis to better plan, train, respond to and recover from man-made and natural disasters.
  • Prior to future disasters, identify and either eliminate or reduce those Federal, state and local statutes, rules, regulations, processes and procedures that impede reconstruction—saving 3 to 6 months of recovery time.
In 2013, the homepage of this website, described the resurgence of the construction industry in the wake of the Great Recession ("Dawn of Construction"). Now in 2017 our construction industry not only has continued to recover but we can once again look at the above vision adopted 11 years earlier for what our industry should look like in 2020.

Only 3 years out from this vision for 2020, how are we doing? What still needs to be done? What can the public and private sectors do working together to fulfill it? How can you assess where your community stands within this process? What resources are available to help you move forward?

How are we doing?
  • Economic recovery, Sustainability & Greater Use of Technologies—Progress but more needed

    Overall the two coasts, the oil and gas patch states recovered more quickly than did other parts of our nation. A few communities which correctly identified and acted on new technologies coupled with streamlining their regulatory processes out performed neighboring jurisdictions and indeed started a cascading effect for those neighboring communities to adopt similar changes. During this time indeed more communities began streamlining (now approximately 30%). A few communities are achieving nearly 80% reductions in the time it takes to move a building through their regulatory processes by streamlining those processes and making use of a wide range of technologies ranging from epermitting, eplan review, IVRs, mobile inspection and other technologies.

    In addition to the above, to continue to stimulate the nation's economic recovery and growth, Congress in 2015 adopted legislation establishing the Federal Permitting Improvement Council which works with 14 different Federal agencies to make improvements in coordinating and speeding Federal permitting procedures for large complex infrastructure projects. (hhtps://www.permits.performance.gov/about )

    The question however remains how do we get both the other 70% of our communities to streamline and adopt such practices and how do we get communities which are using only one such proven cost and time reducing technology or streamlined process to put more of them in place? How do we help them see and act on the imperative of their use? How do we get greater Federal, state and local government coordinated action on improving the regulatory process?

    Adding to this imperative, are both the fact that governments despite recovery are not replacing lost employees. Moreover, the recent change in the Administration in Washington, DC., raises the question as to whether or not the economic recovery witnessed between 2009 and 2016 will continue. Will our economic growth indeed be accelerated, expanded further upon as promised by the new Administration, or will we encounter another major bump in the road? Regardless of the case, true regulatory streamlining along the lines described in this website will remain an imperative for all levels of government, Federal, state and local throughout the nation.

  • Greater code uniformity & Speeding disaster recovery—Limited to No Progress

    Since Louisiana put in place a uniform statewide building code in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, no new statewide building code systems have been added to the nation's 22 such existing programs, leaving the nation with over 25,000 state and local jurisdictions adopting diversely amended versions and editions of model construction codes and standards. Moreover, recent economic necessities have seen some jurisdictions slow down their code adoption cycles further reducing code uniformity.

    As a consequence the desired Year 2020 vision of greater code adoption uniformity leading to better interstate and regional cooperation and speeding disaster response and recovery has progressed very little.

    Even more disappointing, no state has yet undertaken a long proposed project: reviewing all existing construction codes and related standards during "blue sky" times to identify which codes, standards, regulations and procedures should be: amended, suspended or kept in place to speed recovery after a major man made or natural disaster?

    Louisiana after Katrina and both New York and New Jersey post Super Strom Sandy did compile regulations which they so modified to speed recovery but no one has done so PRIOR to a disaster, leaving jurisdictions exposed to an inefficient trial and error on the fly in the middle of a crisis approach towards "streamlining" to facilitate disaster recovery.
What still needs to be done? Where do you stand?
The above shows us what yet needs to be done:
  • More jurisdictions streamline and adopt and/or expand their use of technologies and processes which improve regulatory compliance while reducing construction compliance times and costs
  • Continued development of more streamlined processes and innovative technologies
  • Continued pursuit of greater code uniformity within states and between states
  • States undertake a systematic "blue sky" review of often overlapping and conflicting state, regional, county, city codes and standards and regulations which can impede disaster recovery thus putting in place ahead of their next major disaster a "streamlined" system which preserves public safety while at the same time speeding disaster recovery.


Where does your jurisdiction stand? Where do the jurisdictions you do design, build, renovate buildings in stand? Are you wasting $ and time?—Self-assessment Questions
With the above as background where does your jurisdiction or the jurisdictions you build in stand? This website contains several self-assessment guides you can use to see where you stand, but here is a quick and easy one based upon the Alliance's work and the challenges described at the opening of this home page:
  • How long does it take a building permit, a plan review to be processed? How long does it take to go from application, to design approval, to construction and inspections, issuance of the C of O?
  • Have you lost projects being constructed in your community because your process is more cumbersome than a neighboring jurisdiction?
  • Have you as an owner decided to build a project in a different community based upon their more efficient regulatory system?
  • Have you demonstrated to your elected officials the benefits to the community's economic growth and its public safety from putting streamlined processes and technologies in place?
  • Have you formed and successfully executed a collaborative effort with your construction industry to identify areas in need of streamlining and together made those changes and gained funding for adopting applicable technologies?
  • How are you handling the pending retirement crises which will strip your jurisdiction of valuable code enforcement experience?
  • How are you identifying and attracting new professionals into both the construction and building regulatory fields and engaging qualified young professionals to become building officials for more than just the major traditional reason of "job security?"
  • How are you addressing how new technologies will impact both the construction industry and the code enforcement profession?
  • How are you working to enable new construction materials, technologies and processes to be safely adopted and used?

RESOURCES SUPPORTING STREAMLINING

The Alliance and its following partners have been working on these areas and offers through this and their related websites resources or information which can help you successful address the above challenges.

Robert Wible & Associates—RWA

Established in 2006, Robert Wible & Associates over the past eleven years has directly assisted seven states and thirty-five local governments in successfully undertaking regulatory streamlining initiatives and has published several streamlining guides in conjunction with Alliance partners including the National Governors Association, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, American Institute of Architects, International Code Council, Fiatech and a number of private sector firms.

These materials and further description of the regulatory streamlining services available to both the public and private sectors are available on this website by going here.

MADCAD—www.MADCAD.com

MADCAD.com is a cloud-based subscription service that provides complex building code information for the AEC industry and regulatory community. Utilizing a software as a service (SaaS) model, the Company provides access to technical codes and standards published by all relevant industry associations and standards bodies, including over 70,000 model codes from ICC, NFPA, ASHRAE, ASTM, FGI, ACI and much more, plus codes for all 50 states and territories, and Local Amendments for over 20,000 jurisdictions.

Architects, engineers, contractors and building departments are among the users finding MADCAD a convenient tool in design, review, construction, maintenance and all other life cycles of a building, as well as in communication with their customers.

Using patented technology to organize and interlink different sources, MADCAD.com allows users to efficiently navigate, search and filter through complex information from disparate sources. MADCAD further provides data analytics for subscribers to optimize code library spending and for publishers to enhance revenue assurance and reduce copyright infringement.

MADCAD.com was developed by Compu-tecture, Inc, a woman-owned, small business located in Washington DC, and established in 1995. Compu-tecture, Inc was founded by architects and engineers who developedMADCAD.com with the mission to make complex code research as smart and fast as possible. For more information visit: www.MADCAD.com

Streamlining Institute—www.StreamlineInstitute.org

The Streamline Institute is a 501c3 non-profit formed to implement and promote process streamlining research, development and education. It's PASS Building Permit Streamlining Program is in use in 16 Central California Jurisdictions, in a geographic area with a population of approximately 2.5 million. It also supports a national reference website of Permit Streamlining Best Practices at www.PermitStreamline.Com The seven person Board of Directors of the Streamline Institute includes a diverse panel of experts from around the country.

The President of the Streamline Institute, Michael F. Malinowski, is a licensed Architect who has assisted jursidictions in shaping more efficient and effective processes including the City and County of Sacramento, Charlotte North Carolina, Fairfax County Virginia, Austin Texas (through the Austin AIA); and his programs on Design Professional Led Streamlining, Getting to Yes using the Alternate Means provisions of the ICC, have been presented around the Country: Washington DC, Denver CO, Altanta GA, Minneapolis MN, Los Angeles CA, San Diego CA, Dallas and Austin TX, Seattle WA, Portland OR, and more.

The Bylaws of the Streamline Institute set out a broad mission including:

  • Conduct research, development, and education in support of more efficient and more effective regulatory and review processes, procedure and operation, in a manner consistent with the advancement of education and science, and lessening the burdens of government.
  • Develop and maintain a platform and processes for gathering and sharing best practice permit and regulatory streamlining information from jurisdictions throughout the US and beyond. Information shall be presented with a full and fair exposition of pertinent facts so as to permit an individual or the public to form an independent opinion or conclusion.
  • Support education on the impacts of high performance permit and other entitlement processing in increasing efficiency for both the public sector and private sector participants, while at the same time enhancing the protection of public health, safety and welfare.
  • Develop and support programs that put into practical operation streamlining measures. Examples of programs may include but are not limited to the PASS program (Prequalified Architectural Submittal System) and the "One and Done" programs.
  • Assess and monitor the effectiveness of programs that are intended to implement streamlining efficiencies.
  • Collaborate where feasible with local, regional and national associations, government, and other stakeholder entities and individuals that touch on, interact with, or have an interest in creation, performance, impact, alteration, sustainability, resilience, health or other characteristics of the shaping of the built environment and the entitlements associated therewith, in consideration of the public welfare and interests.

Fiatech—www.fiatech.org

Fiatech, an international consortium of owners, EPC's, service providers and academicians headquartered at the University of Texas in Austin, has supported the Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age since 2005. In 2007 Fiatech hosted the Alliance and initiated projects leading to the development of the ICC Guideline for Replicable Buildings, a guide on adoption and use of digital signatures, and the innovative AutoCodes project.

In 2016 Fiatech further advanced these efforts by establishing a Productivity Advancement Target Team for Regulatory Streamlining with the goal of aiding industry and government to reduce overall time for construction projects to move through the regulatory process by 80%. In addition Fiatech has launched 11 other Productivity Advancement Target teams to improve overall productivity across the life cycle of buildings by reducing by 30% investment costs and a 10% increase in cycle time.

Fiatech also is helping future streamlining efforts through its Horizon-360 Team which is scanning the global economy to identify and track technologies and processes not currently being used in the construction industry to ascertain and where appropriate promote their adoption and use. This includes the potential use of drones and UAV's in monitoring construction site safety, construction progress and even codes enforcement.

April 10-12, 2017 Fiatech's Annual Technology Conference and Showcase will focus on the Shape of Things to Come—Construction Technology 2030, which will include a look at the above game changing technologies and too the regulatory system of the future. You can contact Fiatech through: Wible@fiatech.org or visiting the Fiatech website at: www.fiatech.org

Actions You can Take—Consider the following

  • Review this website and its support materials
  • Take the above informal self-assessment to see where your jurisdiction or company stands in terms of Streamlining and adopting and using the technologies described in this website
  • Based upon the above, review the resources which are available to you and make contact with the group authoring them: Robert Wible & Associates, MADCAD, Streamlining Institute, or Fiatech.
  • Share this homepage and website with your colleagues in your jurisdiction/organization and discuss the benefits which can be derived from regulatory streamlining and IT applications.




UPDATED ALLIANCE STRUCTURE & SERVICES

The Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age was founded in the summer of 2001 at a meeting hosted by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards. The Alliance was formed as a public-private sector partnership supported by 15 national associations representing state and local governments and segments of the construction industry to undertake projects and services which help Federal agencies, state and local governments and the private sector work together to streamline the regulatory system, improve code enforcement, and move buildings faster through the regulatory system. In 2007 overall national coordination for Alliance activities was moved to Fiatech while individual Federal, state and local streamlining projects continue to be conducted through Robert Wible & Associates.

Through Robert Wible & Associates the Alliance produces and releases white papers, the Streamlining Toolkit and provides webinars that are targeted at bringing basic information to elected and building and land use officials on the benefits of diverse information technology to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of building regulatory and land use programs.

Over the past 16 years this partnership has:

  • Worked with 87 local jurisdictions and 7 states to identify regulatory barriers to more effective & efficient codes administration and enabled them to streamline processes and use IT to reduce process time by 70%. (RWA)
  • Worked with the International Code Council to produce an ICC Guideline for Replicable Buildings that allows for single code reviews for replicable residential and commercial structures. Sample savings, one "big box store" saves an average of $150,000 per store in reduced time delays caused by multiple reviews. (FIATECH)
  • Demonstrated the ability to link and make interoperable mobile field inspection technologies to conduct post disaster damage safety inspections (RWA)
  • Enabled jurisdictions to acquire electronic plan review technology to develop and put in place secure database of existing building plans for first responders to download as they roll up on a disaster site (RWA)
  • Produced streamlining and IT "roadmaps" for state (Louisiana) and local governments across the United States. (RWA)
  • Produced publications and guides that provide jurisdictions information on the benefits of applying different IT to construction regulatory processes and link jurisdictions to cities/towns/counties that will share their streamlining experience. (RWA & FIATECH)
  • Provided numerous national presentations on importance of regulatory streamlining including presentations at the 2014 & 2015 American Institute of Architects annual conventions in Denver and Atlanta. "Permit Streamlining, Architects in a Leadership Role." (RWA, Streamlining Institute & Fiatech)
  • Participated in the Wisconsin Health Care Built Environment 2016 Conference which brought together health care providers, EPCs, architects, and building regulatory officials to discuss ways of improving the efficiency of Wisconsin's building regulatory process for the health care industry and the people they serve.

ALLIANCE MISSION STATEMENT:

The economic viability and life safety of the nation can no longer afford to be kept at risk by a regulatory system created in the mid-1900's. The nation's public safety, disaster resiliency and economic competitiveness require our land use and building design and construction processes to become more effective and efficient through streamlining and the application of modern technologies. Communities that effectively have streamlined these processes have strengthened construction code enforcement, reduced by up to 80% the amount of time it takes to move a construction project through those processes and demonstrated the ability to improve disaster preparedness and speed response and recovery.

The goal of the Alliance is to support local and state governments and the private sector with implementing modern technologies and streamlining objectives.

PURPOSE OF THIS WEBSITE

This website provides elected and appointed government officials, building owners, the construction community, civic groups, academicians, the information technology community and general public with background on the need for and tools that they can download to help reduce the regulatory cost of construction between 40% and 80% while increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of land use and construction regulatory programs.

The tools included in this site have been successfully used by communities listed in the Guides and White Papers that are available for downloading to help them both increase their economic competitiveness and strengthen the ability of their communities to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural and man-made disaster.

The resources provided here can be used to:

    Assess if your community has regulatory barriers that impede both safe and affordable construction and assess the effectiveness and efficiency of your community's building and land use regulatory programs to facilitate economic competitiveness and disaster resiliency (Guide_to_Building_Regulatory_Processes.pdf).

    Provide elected officials with a "Streamlining Toolkit" that summarizes the benefits of streamlining and application of diverse information technologies to land use and building regulatory processes including: e-permitting, e-plan review, mobile field inspection technologies, interactive voice response systems, developing an action plan for disaster resiliency.

    Look at the benefits of streamlining and applying information technology to your land use and building plan submittal, review, tracking and storage processes.

    Identify and assemble stakeholders to undertake a successful streamlining of your community's codes administration and enforcement program (Guide_to_Building_Regulatory_Processes.pdf).

    Work with your community to adopt and make use of the "ICC Guideline for Replicable Buildings" to both speed new construction and building renovations to replicable residential and commercial structures, reducing code review processing time by up to 60%.

    Review and share with your elected officials and/or building officials the numerous PowerPoint presentations provided on this website (in the navigation links on the left) that cover regulatory streamlining and benefits of applying information technology to improve program effectiveness and efficiency.

    Inform you of upcoming streamlining conferences and workshops conducted by FIATECH, the Alliance and its partners' and provide you with registration information for those programs (www.FIATECH.org)

    Provide documentation of cost/benefit/savings analysis of successful streamlining initiatives that have applied information technology to construction regulatory and administrative processes (Link to ROI_Report_May05.pdf)

    Provide model information technology procurement requirements (Model Procurement Requirements from July 2006 Report)

    Develop statewide or regional interoperable network of mobile field inspectors to conduct safety/damage assessment reports (California Project to Speed Safety/Damage Assessments thru Mobile Field Inspection Technology PPT)

    Provide access to services available to both the public and private sectors from Robert Wible & Associates to assist State and local governments in assessing their existing processes, designing and putting in place streamlining programs and technologies.

Of immediate interest to users of this site are those items listed on the left hand side of this homepage. A number of these materials have been produced with funding from Alliance members in both the public and private sectors including:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Department of Homeland Security; U.S. Department of Energy; National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) Building Regulatory Process Subcommittee; FIATECH; American Institute of Architects; Associated General Contractors; Building Owners and Managers Association, International; International Code Council; Avolve Software; Accela Corporation; Infor; Marriott Corporation; Selectron; Target Corporation; National Governors Association; U.S. Conference of Mayors; and the National Association of Counties

The Streamlining Project at FIATECH, the Alliance Partners and Robert Wible & Associates hope you find the streamlining materials on this website and new materials that are currently under development (See "How to Get Involved in Streamlining") to be useful in your state or local community. We are especially interested in any feedback you can provide us concerning how effective you found these materials and this website. Your feedback will help us improve the quality of our materials and this site.

As the founder of the Alliance, Senior Project Manager of the FIATECH Streamlining Project and Principal of Robert Wible & Associates, please feel free to contact me concerning this site, its products and materials. I can be reached at: (703) 568-2323 or by email at either: wible@fiatech.org or wiblerobertc@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Wible,
President, Robert Wible & Associates and FIATECH Senior Project Manager




VISION STATEMENT FOR ALLIANCE STREAMLINING INITIATIVES - BY 2020

By 2020, working together the public and private sector partners of this national streamlining initiative will:

Strengthen national economic recovery, international competitiveness and disaster resilience of the United States by identifying best practices and facilitating their implementation to streamline the building and land use regulatory process. The goal of that effort is to assist state and local governments in delivering services that make construction safer, more predictable, timely and less costly through the elimination of areas of regulatory inefficiency, overlap and duplication and the use of information technologies and integrated processes and procedures.

Streamlining will:

–  Stimulate economic recovery and community sustainability by annually saving the public and private sectors over $30 billion in unnecessary construction costs due to regulatory duplication, time delays and other inefficiencies by reducing between 50 and 70% the amount of time it takes to move construction projects through the regulatory system. This effort will get buildings open faster thus enabling communities to both increase employment and get buildings on the tax rolls faster. 

–  Create greater enforcement uniformity enabling state and local governments to make effective use of information technology to link and use 3 & 4 D building design and operation technologies and other data generated by the building design, construction and building operation and maintenance communities.

–  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 more rapidly 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 a minimum of 3 – 6 months of recovery time.



Site by A3MG | ©2006 NPTSG