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Lawsuite by NFPA, ASHRAE, ASTM

Discussion in 'Code Development Discussion' started by fireguy, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Sawhorse

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    There are no excess profits in a non-profit organization.

    The International Code Council (ICC) was established in 1994 as a non-profit organization dedicated to developing a single set of comprehensive and coordinated national model construction codes. NFPA, ASHRAE, ASTM are also non-profit

    We have a municipal code which must be codified and updated when new ordinances are adopted. The city contracts with a publishing company to do this. Is your jurisdiction willing to pay to have all the adopted codes and standards published by non-profit organizations codified and then published into your local municipal code to make it available free to everyone online? Is your jurisdiction required by law to provide their codes on line or in an electronic format? Do you see where this can go if a publishing company cannot protect there property through the copyright process.
     
  2. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    If the there was no copyright on standards referenced from the adopted building code this would not require the jurisdiction to publish those standards rather it would allow others to do so. Individuals could then obtain the standards from the organization that authored the standard or from another source.

    This would likely constitute a taking requiring the state or local organizations pay for the use. There are a number of ways this could happen but one way would be for there to be a small surcharge on all building permit fees that would be used to fund this obligation. California already uses a similar mechanism to fund certain costs associated with the state building code.

    If this is considered a taking the reimbursement would be for the real costs of producing the standard and not for the inflated costs currently charged in many cases.

    If you will look at the history you will see that fees from sale of standards are not the primary or even secondary reason why organizations develop standards.
     
  3. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    Not true, there are no more profitable institutions than non-profit corporations because the profits are not taxed, they just can't be distributed so must build up in the corporation, while there they can be invested and build larger all tax free. Non-profits have to pay their officers reasonable salaries for their services and the officers pay normal taxes on their salaries.

    Ten years ago I looked into a non-profit affordable housing corporation thinking of setting up a non-profit family charitable corporation, the one I looked into had a web of non-profits with the same interlocking officers, each corporation was paying it's president $100,000 a year, there were 5 corporations under the main umbrella so the president was drawing down $500,000 a year. My interest was that since we have to either build affordable housing or pay a fee with our permits, a family charitable corporation has to donate a minimum of 7% per year to charity, if I made 7% of my units affordable that satisfies both my charitable corporate requirement and my city affordable housing requirement. I didn't go ahead with my scheme because I feared the IRS would close the loophole on me midstream, but it's a good thing I didn't because I looked at Lafayette's request for proposals and the site is still vacant with neighbors suing over bringing affordable housing into the neighborhood, satisfy them and affordable housing groups sue because there isn't enough affordable housing, I'd still be there paying millions in architectural and legal fees had I gone ahead with nothing to show for it but a lot of work, money, and aggravation over the last 10 years.
     
  4. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Not sure the copyright is the problem.

    I think a city has to have available for viewing any laws, zoning, ordinances, etc

    If the public wants to view it.

    Maybe the problem is Al Gore. He furnished a means to put entire books online avaiable to anyone that wants to see them.
     
  5. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Sawhorse

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    You can come into the city offices and view them all day long. Nothing in the law requires them to be available in an electronic format on the web.
     
  6. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    That's great for people with a photographic memory, not so much so for the rest of us.

    Maybe Tiger could solve all of his problems by escorting his contractors into his office and showing them the code, just say: "Here it is memorize it, I don't want to see problems anymore when I go to your jobsites."
     
  7. MtnArch

    MtnArch Sawhorse

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    Playing the devil's advocate here - if you offer other publications online (ie. checklists (especially if they pertain to the building code), permit forms, Planning Commission agendas/minutes, zoning codes, etc.) but not the codes are you not denying the "rights" of contractors/architects/engineers/etc. from enjoying those provided with what IS online? Not trying to argue, but since we live in such a PC world now ....
     
  8. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    I would say no. A city has so many rules, it would be hard to put everything on line
     
  9. tmurray

    tmurray Sawhorse

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    generally, the document has to be readily accessible. Since we are talking about a municipality with a relatively fixed area, having a code that is available for review at a the city hall would probably be seen as reasonable for most judges. Now, if we were talking about state or federal...that would be an interesting argument since many people would not be in a position to travel to where they would be able to review the code for free.
     
  10. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    In California, The codes must be available at the building departments and in public libraries. Becomes a problem when the libraries have outdated or inaccurate codes. Most libraries, in CA, are county operated and do not update the codes.
     
  11. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    The city building department does not supply a copy to the libraries ??
     
  12. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Some do, most do not.
     
  13. my250r11

    my250r11 Sawhorse

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    Here the State has the Amendments online at their website. We have them in the office and the library. Then we tell people they can access the Icodes @ the ICC website.
     
  14. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    Consider that "open" access to "all" codes would make it far easier to backtrack older codes and regulations for existing buildings vs my many lineal feet of shelf space on which to house my holdings.
    Also you could then have them with you on your tablet or I phone at all times.
    Makes "cents", no?
     
    my250r11 and FM William Burns like this.
  15. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    Individuals have a right to be able to know the laws they must comply with.

    At a certain point the cost and other barriers of accessing the building and related codes makes it literally impossible to know what the laws are.
     

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