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Project Updates: Regulatory Streamlining Project Reports Focus Attention on Digital Business Processes

Austin, TX, June 15, 2012 — The Fiatech Regulatory Streamlining Steering Committee has released two project reports that focus on key components of a comprehensive strategy to modernize and transform the regulatory review process for building design and construction. Automated code check and digital signatures are two technologies and methods that support the committee-named "Digital Review Process," which integrates electronic plan submission and review, automated code-check, digital signatures, and replicable construction review guidelines to streamline business processes.

The Fiatech Regulatory Streamlining Steering Committee promotes technology development and implementation and the rethinking of the regulatory review process to greatly reduce common inefficiencies that plague U.S. construction. It is estimated that billions of dollars are wasted annually in lost time and duplicate efforts. Fiatech member companies, associations, and government agencies have united under the leadership of the committee to work on solving this significant and pervasive problem.

AutoCodes Project: Phase 1, Proof-of-Concept Final Report

Owners, architects, contractors, and building regulatory personnel recognize that regulatory code compliance is a challenging, costly, and time-consuming requirement in the design and construction process. The introduction and adoption of building information models (BIMs) by the design/construction industry has accelerated both the ability and the necessity to transform the building regulatory process to keep pace with economic demands. The current development and construction plan review process, however, is a persistent bottleneck that severely impacts business development. This problem has been acknowledged at the highest levels of government as a cause for concern regarding economic recovery in the U.S. and the nation's ability to compete in the global marketplace.

The AutoCodes Project is conducting the much-needed research, development, and education campaigns required to institute automated code-check technology applied to BIMs for regulatory review. The Phase I, Proof-of-Concept Report summarizes activity by the project team related to the performance of accessibility and egress reviews—by 14 diverse Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) across the U.S.—according to the International Code Council (ICC) International Building Code (2009). The project team collaborated with the ICC, Fiatech members, and the AHJs to collect plan review data for the purpose of comparative analysis between manual, 2D methods and rules-based, model checking technology. Among the key findings:

  • Review inconsistency is the norm, not the exception.
  • Model creation best practices requirements and guidelines for industry are needed.
  • Education and information on a global scale are essential.
  • As an architecture-engineering-construction (AEC) methodology, BIM needs to be inclusive—AHJs must be part of the BIM ecosystem.

In addition to the Phase 1 report, the project team worked with Fiatech member Target Corporation to produce a video that outlines current review process challenges and the benefits of automated code-check.

The report is available for download from the Fiatech web site at http://fiatech.org/project-management/project-deliverables. The video is available at http://fiatech.org/project-management/case-studies.

A Practical Deployment Strategy for Digital Signatures and Seals in Fully Electronic AEC Processes

Directed by the Fiatech Regulatory Streamlining Steering Committee, Fiatech members consisting of digital signature solutions providers, design firms, and other organizations in the capital projects delivery industry collaborated in 2011-12 to deliver A Practical Deployment Strategy for Digital Signatures and Seals. The report serves as both an educational primer and a strategy guide for deploying digital signatures and digital seals, and calls attention to the high inefficiencies and unnecessary expenditures of the "print-scan-mail" workflow associated with status-quo wet-signing. It then introduces digital signature technology as a critical element of business process automation. In addition, the report discusses the far-reaching benefits of deploying this technology within organizations, including cost avoidance and expedited AEC project delivery. The report also outlines seven elements which AEC firms should consider and practice regarding signature automation.

The report is available from the Fiatech web site at http://fiatech.org/project-management/project-deliverables.

Update: Guideline for Replicable Buildings

In 2009, the Fiatech Regulatory Streamlining Steering Committee initiated a project with the ICC to produce the Replicable Building Guideline, which is designed to help state and local jurisdictions and building owners, architects, and engineers streamline the building document review process to examine and verify replicable construction documents, thus eliminating repetitive code compliance. In 2010, the ICC released its Guideline for Replicable Buildings.

In 2011, Fiatech worked to increase the number of jurisdictions adopting and implementing the ICC Guideline in building regulatory programs, potentially saving builders of replicable commercial, retail, hospitality, restaurant, and residential structures millions of dollars each year currently caused by each jurisdiction having to undertake a detailed plan review for the exact same and already approved structures.

To speed adoption, steering committee member Target Corporation recently joined with Wal-Mart in making individual code-change submissions to the ICC. These code-change proposals would add the ICC Guideline as an appendix to the 2012 International Building Code (IBC). Jurisdictions would then be able to adopt the Guideline as an administrative procedure along with their adoption of the most current edition of that code.

The first step of the process occurred last month in Dallas, Texas, with an initial vote at the ICC 2015 Code-Change Public Hearing. After much discussion by the ICC membership, the Technical Committee voted to disapprove. Target Corporation, Wal-Mart, and BOMA, along with many other supporters, will be posting public comments to bring this item to a floor action, final vote by ICC members at the ICC Annual Business Meeting Conference and Hearings in Portland, Oregon, this October.

For more information, visit http://fiatech.org/project-management/projects/970-guidelines-for-replicable-buildings.

Contact the Fiatech Regulatory Streamlining Committee

To learn more about the Fiatech Regulatory Streamlining Committee, its activities, and how you can participate, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Fiatech Project Manager; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Avolve Software, Regulatory Streamlining Co-Chair; or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Target, Regulatory Streamlining Co-Chair.