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AUSTIN, TX, July 26, 2011 - It has long been understood by construction owners, architects, designers and engineers that regulatory code-compliance, for all of its necessity, is also one of the more challenging aspects of the design-build process, largely because of the many variations in building and safety codes across the country and the globe.
Also, despite the best efforts of code officials to expedite approvals, regulatory compliance remains a tedious, time-consuming and costly discipline.
The recent downturn in the economy combined with other industry factors have accelerated the prospect of applying the latest technology to the challenge of creating more consistent and faster methods of code-checking that compliment construction industry adoption of new, technology-enabled processes and tools – specifically building information models (BIM) – while maintaining (and even improving) the fundamental safety and design integrity standards that define the regulatory process.
In January, FIATECH launched a proof-of-concept (POC) project to develop an automated code-checking tool. Working in cooperation with the International Code Council (ICC) and select ICC and FIATECH members and jurisdictions, the initial phase of the multi-phase project (currently called “AUTOCodes”) will demonstrate the ability to develop and deliver rule sets for the Accessibility and Egress provisions of the ICC’s International Building Code. Validation of the POC project is to be accomplished by multiple parties comparing and analyzing traditional, manual plan reviews against model-based reviews using the AUTOCodes plan checking tool. Beginning in April, code officials and plan-check engineers from selected volunteer jurisdictions across the United States have engaged in manual reviews of a uniform, 2D building plan that was offered by Target Corporation. The 2D plan set was derived from the model of a store prototype. The initial review exercise is scheduled for completion in late June. The results of the exercise will be analyzed as part of the development of AUTOCode Accessibility and Egress rule sets that will be used by the same volunteer group on the store prototype 3D model itself. Moving forward, the project will also focus on stringent Fire and Life Safety Code rule sets.
The AUTOCodes POC project goal is to validate the use of automation technology for real-world code compliance assessment and the acceleration of the regulatory approval process using building models. Long term objectives include the development of an extensive, open-source rule set library that is approved by industry and regulatory bodies alike; available for use by technology developers in commercial companies and code officials for the next generation of design, construction and facility management.