Your State Association Leads Charge to Take Back the Code

The International Code Council (ICC) has established a new procedure to allow building officials and inspectors to vote on the proposed changes for the 2018 I-codes from their computers without having to attend weeks of hearings.  The catch is they have to be “validated” as governmental voters by September 19th in order to have the final say in the contents of the 2018 I-codes. This on-line voting can make the difference between a reasonable, rational, cost-effective code and one ruled by manufacturers and special interests. We’re working hard to see that it does.

Aided by the state’s local Executive Officers who set up the meetings, HBA Michigan’s Lee Schwartz has traveled more than 3,000 miles around the state in August (with more to come in September) to sit down and talk face to face with building officials and inspectors to explain the new process to them and ask them to make sure they have the maximum number of voters (4, 8 or 12 depending on population) verified by the deadline.  In addition, individualized letters (SEE BELOW) were sent out to over 250 building officials and inspectors asking them to be sure they’re verified to vote. The response of the building officials and inspectors to our ICC Outreach program has been overwhelmingly positive.  

Why is this important?  Just look at the 2015 energy code.  During the ICC’s Final Action hearings in October of 2013, only 48 governmental voters were present to vote on proposed changes that would affect 125 million families and only 15 were building officials/inspectors. On its own the Massachusetts’s State Sustainability Council had ten voters or 20 percent of the total governmental voters in the hall. That’s why the trade-offs in the energy code, we won during the April 2013 ICC hearings with strong support from the building officials/inspectors were lost in October.

Michigan’s building officials and inspectors are our partners in providing safe, affordable housing for Michigan families. We may not always agree with them on every code requirement but the code is better when building officials and inspectors are fully involved in its creation.

2018 International Codes

You can cast the deciding votes on the 2018 International Codes by computer without attending the hearings or leaving your desk, but, in order to vote, you must be a verified ICC governmental voter by Monday, September 19, 2016. 

by Lee Schwartz, Executive Vice President for Government Relations, Home Builders Association of Michigan

Here’s How It Works

In November, after the October Public Comment Hearings (formerly the Final Action Hearings) are over, the ICC will begin its Online Governmental Consensus Vote (OGCV). For a two-week period (November 7-21) verified governmental voters can log into the cdpACCESS website and begin voting on the proposed changes to the 2018 I-codes. The website will have the actual language of the change; all relevant information about the proposal, an overview of everything that happened at the hearings and streaming video that can be paused, reversed, and picked up at any time.

You don’t have to vote all at once. You can spread your voting over the 14 days. You don’t have to vote on every proposed change. You can change your vote right up until the voting closes. But you have to be a verified voter by Monday, September 19th.

Each jurisdiction is allotted either 4, 8 or 12 voters depending on population. In addition to building department staff, members of a local Construction Board of Appeals are also eligible to be voters as are elected officials. An easy-to-follow guide from ICC to becoming a verified governmental voter is enclosed. If you need help in finding out the name of your primary contact or if you run into any other problems, contact ICC’s member service department at 888-ICC-SAFE (888-422-7233), ext. 33804 or at members@iccsafe.org.

Your on-line vote can make the difference between a reasonable, rational, cost-effective code and one ruled by manufacturers and special interests. We may not always agree on every code requirement but the code is better when building officials and inspectors are involved in its creation. Please make sure you’re a verified governmental voter before the September 19th deadline.