Code Compliance Strategies
The demand for experts in code compliance expands.
Building Code of New York State
- 101.3 Purpose. This code is intended to provide minimum requirements to safeguard public safety, health and general welfare through structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, adequate light and ventilation, energy conservation and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment.
We have come to realize that as codes become more complex and with the current limitations on staffing, often Code Enforcement Officials (CEOs) cannot be in two places at once, and the opportunity to have support on large complex projects can assist a municipality in keeping development in moving forward. By utilizing third-party plan reviewers, a municipality can reduce the burden on their local building department, and increase the level of quality assurance for plan reviews. Often this compliance method will also benefit the builder or developer by providing an expedited plan review process, and will benefit the local jurisdiction by realizing tax revenue sooner from the more-quickly completed project.
Throughout the process, the responsible agency remains the Code Enforcement Official, issues permits, certificates of occupancy/compliance, and provides all code interpretations to be used when there is a difference in interpretation between the design professional and the third party plan reviewer. Local Code Enforcement Officials also provide a level of quality assurance over the third-party plan reviewers. This is often handled similar to the Town Designated Engineering (TDE) process used to advise municipalities on engineering and planning matters, which we also provide. Fewer plan reviewers should be needed by building departments as a result of third-party plan reviewers conducting extensive plan reviews, while the building departments are simply auditing plans for quality assurance.
The most basic code compliance service is review of the project design (from schematic design through design development) to provide advice on code Issues. When alternative methods or materials are introduced and must be judged on a performance basis, code compliance services may also include assistance with code interpretation. In addition to third party plan review services, services may also be required for specialized discipline reviews by our staff of licensed professional architects and engineers, for issues ranging from hazardous materials and combustible dust, to fire-proofing of archaic materials.
Increasingly, the scope of services is broadening to include not only review of construction documents for code-related issues, but field reviews during construction and special inspection testing. As more and more alternative methods or materials are introduced, which need to be judged on a performance basis, code compliance services often include assistance with code interpretation on these matters.