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NCBCS Sees Engaging Code Officials Early as Way to Streamline Building Process

White Paper Proposes New Code Official Role of Collaborator and Facilitator

Today, the National Institute of Building Sciences National Council on Building Codes and Standards (NCBCS) issued a new white paper, Engaging Code Officials Early in the Process to Achieve High-Performance Buildings.

In recent years, building owners and communities have increasingly focused on improving the design, construction and operation of buildings to meet enhanced levels of performance. People within the building industry recognize the role that increased collaboration during the design and construction process can play in realizing the desired levels of performance. However, the collaborative process, to date, largely leaves out one important participant—the code official. 

Many communities are adopting customer-service focused models to engage with their citizens. The code department can and should serve as a shining example of a customer-centered municipal function, while maintaining its important mission of assuring community safety. The code department’s historic and long-standing charge of ensuring health, safety and welfare is synonymous with community growth, development and prosperity.

Involving code officials, such as building, fire, mechanical and plumbing officials early in the project provides the project team with comprehensive client services while helping to deliver predictable enforcement expectations. This initial engagement creates a link between stakeholders, economic development and health, safety and welfare by involving the relevant authorities.

NCBCS undertook an effort in 2017 to examine the benefits of involving code officials early in building projects and how jurisdictions and code departments could begin engaging earlier in the design process.

In this white paper, the NCBCS looks at shifting the paradigm, offers suggestions for implementation and addresses potential challenges. The paper also includes a draft meeting agenda for jurisdictions to reference when setting up initiation meetings with teams when beginning new projects.

NCBCS unveiled the white paper at its Annual Meeting, held during Building Innovation 2018: The National Institute of Building Sciences Sixth Annual Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C.

About NIBS

National Institute of Building Sciences brings together labor and consumer interests, government representatives, regulatory agencies, and members of the building industry to identify and resolve problems and potential problems around the construction of housing and commercial buildings. NIBS is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization. It was established by Congress in 1974. For more information, visit or follow @bldgsciences on Twitter and Facebook.

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