Code and Regulatory Services

Building Technology Incorporated (BTI) provides code and regulatory consulting services to the building industry. Its clients include building product manufacturers, building owners and developers, trade associations, federal agencies active in the regulatory area or interested in achieving policy objectives by means of the regulatory system, and state and local governments.

The U.S. building regulatory system consists of a multitude of state and local codes and ordinances that are administered and enforced by a wide variety of regulatory authorities. These are supported by three regional model code organizations and by a complex system of voluntary standards. The latter, in turn, are supported by trade associations, industry-wide associations, and testing and certification organizations. The absence of a thorough understanding of this regulatory system can pose serious constraints to the penetration of new products and systems into the market.

BTI maintains active membership in the model code groups and in a number of their committees, the National Institute of Building Sciences, the American Society for Testing and Materials, the National Fire Protection Association, the National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards, the American Institute of Architects, the Construction Specifications Institute, and other building-related organizations. BTI staff attend the building code change hearings of the three model code organizations (BOCA, ICBO, and SBCCI) as well as the One and Two Family Dwelling Code change hearings held by the Council of American Building Officials. BTI has prepared and submitted proposed code changes and presented testimony at these hearings on behalf of product manufacturers as well as in support of policy interests of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In addition to technical work on the codes, BTI has studied aspects of code administration and enforcement and provided technical assistance to state and local governments in streamlining and increasing the effectiveness of their code administration and enforcement processes. BTI has worked with a number of local governments to modify and update their codes, including the cities of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and Houston. In Iran, BTI developed performance specifications that were intended to form the basis for a new housing code.

As a result of this background, BTI currently is recognized as an established and effective player in the nation's codes, standards, and regulatory arenas, a player whose expertise can serve the interests of both private and public sector organizations.

BTI's recent work in the regulatory field includes the following projects:

  • Nationally Applicable Recommended Rehabilitation Provisions (NARRP). BTI, as a subcontractor to the NAHB Research Center, managed the development of the NARRP for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), published May 1997. HUD sponsored the development and publication of the NARRP in an attempt to bring order and clarity to the process of regulating work in existing buildings. The NARRP are intended be proportional to the nature and extent of the underlying work. While such principles have been applied informally in the past, NARRP goes much further by making them explicit.
  • ASTM Task Group E06.51.17 was formed to develop standards or test methods to determine the resistance of fenestration systems (including shutters) to wind-borne debris from hurricane source winds. David Hattis is serving as co-chairperson of this effort. ASTM E 1886 - 97, Standard Test Method for Performance of Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, Doors, and Storm Shutters Impacted by Missile(s) and Exposed to Cyclic Pressure Differentials, has been published in 1997. A companion Standard Specification is under development.
  • Laminators Safety Glass Association (LSGA). BTI was a code consultant to this group and regularly prepared and presented testimony at the code change hearings of the three model code groups. It also developed and proposed new code changes in the areas of safety glazing, sloped and overhead glazing, impact resistant glazing, and airport noise reduction zones. BTI represented LSGA on the ASTM E06 committee working on the structural strength of glass.
  • National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association (NGMA). BTI is a code consultant to this association and has prepared and presented code modifications on their behalf. BTI completed a comparison of the U.S. standards for greenhouse design and construction with those of certain foreign countries.
  • U.S. AID/Israel Technical Assistance on Building Codes and Related Regulations. BTI, as subcontractor to Abeles Phillips Preiss & Shapiro, Inc., provided technical assistance to the Government of Israel regarding that country's building codes, its implementation and enforcement. Additional services related to the development of a new building regulatory system are anticipated.
  • U.S. AID/World Bank Russian Housing Program. BTI, as a consultant to the Urban Institute, is serving as a building industry specialist providing the World Bank with guidance regarding the design and implementation of this program aimed at increasing the supply of housing in Russia.
  • U.S. AID/Kazakhstan Technical Assistance on Building Codes and Related Regulations. BTI, as a consultant to the International City Management Association (ICMA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development, provided technical assistance to this Republic of the former Soviet Union. This effort was aimed at establishing a building regulatory environment that provides adequate public safety and allows for development and economic growth.
  • Americans with Disability Act/Automated Door Research. BTI, as a subcontractor to the State University of New York, provided field research services regarding the standards and use of automated doors. This effort was in support of work aimed at developing appropriate guidelines and requirements for automated doors related to the objectives of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
  • U.S. General Services Administration/Public Buildings Service. BTI, under contract to the National Institute of Building Sciences, led a team of consultants which developed recommended options and alternative strategies for GSA/PBS to implement Public Law 100-678 which require "... compliance with one of the nationally recognized model building codes, and other nationally recognized codes." This effort included a detailed technical comparison of the GSA/PBS criteria with the codes, and an analysis of compliance procedures and resources.
  • New York State, Office of the Secretary of State. BTI conducted a study for the State of New York of the financial implications and potential inducements that could be appropriately associated with certain retroactive applications of the state's Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. This study was the first such effort on a statewide basis and addressed the allocation of financial burdens between the regulated and the regulators, the benefits versus the costs of such retroactive applications, and the types of inducements that may be appropriate.
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. BTI, under contract to HUD, completed an extensive study of how existing buildings are governed by the current regulatory system, recommended improvements, and identified future research needs. The study involved literature surveys and data review, as well as detailed case studies in Buffalo, New York; Miami, Florida; and Portland, Oregon.
  • National Institute of Building Sciences and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. BTI served as principal subcontractor to the National Institute of Building Sciences for the development of the HUD Rehabilitation Guidelines, a series of 12 documents describing both regulatory and technical issues associated with the rehabilitation of existing buildings. Later, under contract to HUD, BTI presented the Rehabilitation Guidelines to national meetings and conventions of various interested associations and developed and implemented a series of 10 two-day workshops through- out the United States on the local adoption and use of the guidelines.
  • Loudoun County, Virginia. BTI, as subcontractor to the Enterprise Foundation, provided analysis of the County's regulatory processes as they affect the County's desire to implement an affordable housing program.
  • A Rehab Strategies Workshop - City of Dallas. BTI served as the rehab code experts in a technical assistance workshop presented by The Enterprise Foundation in Dallas, Texas, in June 1988. The workshop participants, including high level city officials such as the mayor, are undertaking a regulatory reform effort to encourage rehab in Dallas.
  • U.S. Fire Administration (now FEMA). In a study to evaluate and analyze current effective building and fire prevention code administration and enforcement (CA&E) programs, BTI carried out a detailed analysis of the code enforcement programs for both new and existing buildings in nine communities, ranging in population from 28,000 to over 1,000,000, across the United States. Based on that analysis, BTI prepared a report that included a generic code administration and enforcement model; a description of the essential features for an effective code administration and enforcement program; a discussion of the transferable features found in the nine study communities; and a recommended process for developing an effective fire-related code administration and enforcement program at the local level.
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. BTI completed, under contract to HUD, a One and Two Family Dwelling Inspection Guide for use by building inspectors during the construction of residential units built to the requirements of the CABO One and Two Family Dwelling Code. The 112-page guide is the first of its kind to be developed for a widely used building code.
  • Fairfax County, Virginia. BTI, under contract to Fairfax County, collected and analyzed information regarding the quality of building department inspections using a combined inspection program for one- and two-family housing construction. Information from five jurisdictions of the country formed the basis for the study.
  • International City Management Association (ICMA). BTI provided consulting services to ICMA as part of its Affordable Communities Project for HUD and assisted ICMA in advocating regulatory reform to reduce the cost of rehabilitating existing buildings.
  • National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards (NCSBCS). In conjunction with Melvyn Green and Associates, Inc., and under the auspices of the National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards, BTI examined and adapted ASHRAE 90-75, "Energy Conservation in New Building Design" for the three model code groups (BOCA, ICBO, and SBCCI). This project relied on a detailed analysis of how the standard had been previously applied as a means for determining how it could be adapted to both prescriptive and performance code formats.
  • National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards/National Bureau of Standards. BTI was involved in seminal work in the development of a regulatory system for factory produced housing in the early 1970s. This work, known as the Laboratory Evaluation and Accreditation Program (LEAP) and the Coordinated Evaluation System (CES), was performed under contract to the National Bureau of Standards and finally incorporated into ASTM E 541-75, "Standard Criteria for Agencies Engaged in System Analysis and Compliance Assurance for Manufactured Buildings."

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