To the Membership of the International Association of Building Officials (IABO) and Building Official voting members of the International Code Council (ICC):
In June of this year IABO surveyed building officials across the United States, both members and non-members. The survey was intended to gauge the interest that building officials, without the financial resources to attend the ICC Code Hearings in Atlantic City, would have in a scholarship program designed to provide them the financial assistance necessary to get to the Group B hearings so they could vote on proposed code changes.
The genesis of the scholarship proposal stemmed from conversations in Dallas, Texas, during the Committee hearings, conducted with industry organizations that support the mission, goals, and values of IABO and its members, building officials. Two of IABO’s primary goals are first, to facilitate building officials in the enforcement of model codes and second, to ensure a balance variety of interests are heard and able to vote during the code development hearings. Achieving this balance will be more critical than ever in Atlantic City because there are controversial, potentially harmful changes proposed to the codes.
Nearly 200 building officials from across the nation responded to the IABO survey. Their overwhelming response made clear there is great need for financial support to facilitate building officials so they may attend code development hearings. With quantifiable proof that there was a need IABO proceeded to the next step.
That next step was for the organizations involved to seek funding authorization from their governance boards and committees to secure the resources necessary to fund the scholarship program. Those spearheading the effort were extremely optimistic that, in despite the financial instability in the construction industry, these potential industry partners would find the resources necessary to assist IABO in the Association’s efforts. Unfortunately, despite IABO’s work and of our industry partners in this effort, it did not produce favorable results.
While there were a number of factors that drove the project’s outcome, the main one, one that we have faced many times in the past, was the issue of cost versus benefit. It was determined the available funding would send too few building officials to impact hearing results one way or the other.
I apologize for the lateness of this notice. We have received many inquiries from those of you who responded to our survey and we appreciate your patience during this process. Please understand the delay occurred because we wanted to exhaust every possible avenue to secure scholarship funding.
We want to thank our industry partners for working with IABO to support building officials in this effort. We look forward to future opportunities to work with those who support IABO’s goals. It is our hope that next year, the ICC cdpACCESS process will provide an opportunity for building officials who cannot attend the hearings in person to be involved by voting remotely. I would encourage all IABO members and building officials throughout the country to work through your chapters and ICC to find the resources needed so they can attend the conference this year.
I would close with this request: Even if you cannot attend the hearings, remember it is critical that you monitor the hearings via ICC’s webcast of the hearings. By monitoring the 2013 hearing, you will learn about the critical issues that you need to be aware of when your jurisdiction is involved in the process of adopting future code editions. IABO will remain active in the hearing process, developing well-reasoned position papers, providing testimony, and voting on important issues. IABO’s goal will continue to be supporting building officials in the development of codes that are enforceable, adoptable and maintain acceptable levels of safety and provide for public welfare.