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ICC Board? Right, Wrong, Needs Work, The Future?

Discussion in 'Talk to the ICC Board' started by jpranch, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    Okay folks, I know that I haven’t posted very much over the past couple of years so I thought I would see what you all are thinking. No I’m not up for re-election or running for anything so that is not reason for the post. I’ve been on the ICC board for quite a while now and think I have learned a lot through this experience. Is ICC perfect? I think not and if you see any business or organizations that are please let me know if they go public with stock offerings! With that said I would appreciate positive or constructive feedback. Everything is on the table but I can say that I may have tell you something that you may not want to hear? The other caveat is my fiduciary responsibility and there are some things I just cannot talk about. I’m hoping that you all will understand about such things. I will monitor this post as best I can. So please let me know what we are doing right, what we got wrong, what’s needs work, and what you envision for the future of ICC. I would be willing to bet I’ll take some shots for doing this but that’s okay. Straight talk is what I love best. Be as gentle as possible! :)
     
  2. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    To further start the conversation, I was reading through a lot of posts from back when I was first running for the ICC board and then finally being successful in Portland Oregon. I believe that I have not changed at all in my core beliefs and service to the membership but surly have additional perspective provided by my board service.
     
  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Welcome
    Keep on plugging
     
  4. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    I guess the biggest question I see is

    Copyright, once a city adopts a code.

    I know our city requires the books to be available and also copies in the library
     
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  5. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    jpranch likes this.
  6. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Maybe icc needs to do some road trips and meet the people they are trying to reach
     
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  7. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    cda, near 9pm here. Boy did the evening get away from me. You raised some good points . I'll get back to you tomorrow. Long story short my daughters refigerator crapped out Patty got the horses in and fed them. I cooked a late dinner. Grilled cheese! Wide fridge, narrow door. Just a lot of fun. Catch you in the am.
     
  8. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Just passing on some thoughts

    Take care of the horses
     
  9. CodeWarrior

    CodeWarrior Active Member

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    The board members should see for themselves how ICC operates. View webcast of meetings for example. Or attend meetings when you can. Board members cannot Manage the organization to make changes because that's the CEOS job but they can certainly tell the execs what is good and not so good about ICC.

    Most likely the board gets reports from the execs. They should be encouraged to seek out the board for advice. As JP says ICC is not perfect but needs to aspire to a high bar as a segment leader.
     
  10. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    As discussed in Long Beach, most of the departments out there are lacking the manpower to really do the job. If ICC could help us spread the word about how important proper code enforcement is to the success of a community and how much of a financial benefit it is to have well built buildings that require less maintenance, and that last longer. I know disaster resiliency is a big topic right now, and to spur off of that to just basic good building or better enforcement and the money that can save.

    For example, "we" do not do any roof inspections other than a final because we do not have time. I have 8 and 12 yr old houses with the roof sheathing rotting off because of improper flashing or I&W barrier. I go to roof finals and fail them for step flashing fastened over the existing siding! Same thing for siding, we do not look at WRB behind siding which kills me, but there is no way we could keep up. We have about $100 million in construction value per inspector in my AHJ right now and it is flat out dangerous IMO. Maybe ICC could do a study as to a "recommended" safe CV per inspector ratio that would bolster some of our arguments to the higher ups? The inspectors do not need an education in how important code enforcement is, but the people that cut the checks do...

    Thanks Jim!
     
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  11. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    Cda, copyright and protection of intellectual property is a top priority. Where it get really interesting is how the copyright laws work (or not) depending on what property is being discussed. Our general council has helped the board to understand the complexities but it's quite a crazy affair to say the least. The ICC website is huge with so much information that it's challenging to manage. I have worked on this for quite some time with not a whole lot of substantial improvement. So I guess I have fallen short of the mark for sure. It would be nice if we had the resources of Amazon to put a ton of money into it but we do not. I would recommend using "My ICC" at the top of the page where you can customize your quick links for pages that you might visit a lot. Road trips? Board or / and ICC staff? The board members excluding the executive committee have an annual budget of $3,500 each for chapter visits. For me being in Gillette where air travel is very expensive that turns out to be 2 trips or maybe 3 if I really watch my spending. I keep an excel spread sheet to keep track of every penny throughout the year to stay within my budget. The board executive committee has a larger budget with the President at the top of the tier. I think that you might be surprised at how much ICC staff travels especially our government relations people. ICC has over 350 chapters here in the U.S. so as you can imagine it's pretty hard to get to all of them every year. Last year and the years before that the ICC Presidents have done a lot of road trip travel on not only a national level but some exhausting regional trips. Last year the regional road trip focused on the northeast. I think if I remember correctly Dominic Sims and Cash Olsowy managed to visit 10 or 12 chapters in a single week. This year President Dwayne Garris is going to do an insane western road trip to visit as many chapters as possible. I hope this helps a bit. Keep the questions and comments coming folks! Woohoo!
     
  12. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    Yes I'm a board member. But what pays my bills is being the Deputy Building Official for the City of Gillette. So I live it each and every day just like many of you do. I just a member of ICC with no more privilege than any other member. I view webcasts and attend as many meetings as possible and still manage to remain employed. A week doesn't pass that I have not been on a conference call or webinar for ICC. I would disagree about the relationship of the board and the CEO. Here is how it really works. The board has one employee and one only. That is the CEO. The board tells the CEO what to do and he or she better darn well produce results. Now with that said our members as well as ICC staff play a great role in providing information and feedback for the board to consider so that we can make the best possible decisions. I would add this, if our membership thinks that they have no say I would argue that they are really underestimating their themselves. This board as well as past boards are truly membership focused. All 163,000 of us have a say.
     
  13. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    Excellent points. Btw, we struggle here in Gillette with the same issues. Except right now because our economy crashed and I mean crashed about 18 months ago and building is very, very slow right now. I think what you are talking about is raising the profile of the code official especially to our elected officials? I see this as an effort and collaboration. ICC has put in a lot of effort and dedicated resources just for this but ICC cannot accomplish this by itself. Just not going to be very effective or successful without our members, our partners in the industry and especially, especially our chapters. We really need our chapters to be involved at the local, state, and national levels especially when it comes to legislation. Code officials across the country do not like to be in the spotlight and tend to want to stay under the radar. I must admit I kind of like it there too but if we are to raise the profile we collectively need to get past that and toot our own horn. Most of us work in small jurisdictions and also many, many one person shops across the nation. Dam hard to engage in so many things with so little time. But the good news is that ICC can assist and provide resources. Make contact with your ICC government relations staff and please, please keep them informed on what is going on in your part of the world. You would be amazed at how much that can help the overall well being of the organization and the nation.
     
  14. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    Btw, please excuse the typo's! I describe my typing skills or lack there of as advanced hunt and peck!
     
  15. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    Jim:

    I think the ICC should do a cost benefit analysis on each and every code, as a retired builder I can tell you that nothing has driven up costs like codes and the related administration, only yesterday Mark Handler posted an article telling how codes have driven up costs in California. The entire process should be simplified, when I bought my first code book in 1958 the entire code book was ¾" thick, the ICC should also look at code reform by bringing codes back to their initial purpose of health and safety, all political codes should be eliminated.

    Codes have driven construction costs so high that we have people sleeping under overpasses, around creeks, and sometimes in doorways, we also have situations with people dying in conflagrations like Ghost Ship and the West Oakland Apartment fire, nobody can afford to build or even remodel a building to code that can be rented to lower income people, the fact is that codes have grown exponentially and are so confusing that even inspectors here can't agree in their interpretation, let's get them back to basics.
     
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  16. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    conarb, Not too long ago the ICC board was asked to require cost benefit requirements for one specific code. The thought of the board and I supported this was that we could not justify this and would we would not want to focus on a single code. It was going to be all or nothing. So we chose all. So all codes have to have a financial impact statement. Here is where it gets tough. So a code change proposal comes to ICC staff and it does not have the required statement. Proposal does not move forward and is rejected. Proposal comes with the required financial impact statement and continues through the process in accordance with Council Policy-28. ICC staff does not have the time or resources to analyze or the authority to reject the numbers presented. Also it is the current thought that the financial impact stated in the proposal will be vetted, argued, defended, and attacked by the opposition on the code hearing floor and that is the best and most effective way to determine its validity, errors, or just plain misleading conclusions. Thanks for the link to the article on California. Many states adopt and then heavily amend the IBC, IRC, etc… Here in Wyoming we do very, very little in the way of amendments. I wish that I could tell you that I really know a lot about the CBC but from what I’m told and can gather those amendments combined with above code provisions and adoptions play a role in the end costs to the consumers? Please correct me if I’m wrong. As far as affordable housing it sure seems like this has been an issue for decades if not longer. While the codes absolutely have a direct impact on the costs the issue is much bigger than just the codes. It’s a societal issue with many moving parts. Water & sewer tap fees, electrical, gas and other utility connection fees, development infrastructure costs, impact fees, and the list goes on and on. Add on top of that codes that are adopted that do not deal with basic life safety, sanitation, & structural integrity. So let’s talk about the elephant in the room. RFS. Yes, I’m really going to go there. First off let me be clear that if I was to build a new home I would have that system. Matter of fact I live so far from a fire station that the big insurance companies will not insure my home even though I offered to retrofit my 1983 double wide home with RFS. So I have to purchase ranch & farm insurance. Pricy too. So there are currently only two states that require these systems. California and Maryland and of course that has an impact on the end cost. Then on top of that you have the energy code and in some places the green code. All add cost. Look at the national electric code NFPA-70. Boy did the cost go up with now all the arc fault breakers that are required. So I’m guessing what you’re talking about is the total combined impact / effect on the end cost. As far as taking an entire code in its entirety / holistically and cherry picking and eliminating based solely on cost would not be a desirable or effective method in my humble opinion and I do not see it as an option. What I do see is that our elected officials are paying a lot more attention to adoptions and the cost benefit. We as code officials also must look at each new code update and take into account how this will impact the end costs and advise our elected officials accordingly. Code officials have a lot of power in this regard and with a lot of us coming from the trades need to remember where we came from. Thoughts?
     
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  17. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

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    A lot of it is the general, philosophical way the organization works and how it looks at codes, and what it believes it's purpose is. I do think ICC does some things really right - the fundamentals of building the code(s), educating and certifying the competence of users, partnering with other industry stakeholders, etc. But the weight of their mistakes can sure sometimes overshadow the good - at least for me.

    There are a fair amount of things that need fixed:

    The copyright/protectionism nonsense should go away first. All the codes need to go on the website, including all of the legacy codes, and they should all be in a free to access and use (read: copy and pastable) format for gov't. members. The argument is that "we lose too much money", blah, blah, blah. Not-for-profit means that I don't care. If ICC can't figure out a way to break even (you know, the responsibility of all not-for-profits) without charging their members twice for the same material, then perhaps they need to look at where they're spending money. The business should not be built around selling pdf's to members who have already paid a dues fee and/or bought paper books. Charge me a fee to sell me a book to recoup the cost of printing it, but don't charge me $800+ a year to use that same code on my computer when it didn't/doesn't cost a dime to upload it to the website. I might be persuaded that charging a very minimal fee, for the actual cost of getting it to the website, could be charged, but I'm not sure I'd even go for that. The cost is so minimal (or should be) as to be insignificant. Raise everyone's dues just a dollar a year and you've more than covered it.

    The intellectual property argument is flawed IMO as well. When ICC publishes a brand new version of a code then sure, it's copyright protected. I can get on board with that. But the whole reason for ICC to exist is for local governments to adopt those codes. Once the very first unit of gov't. adopts that new version, then that code is no longer anyone's property - it is a law of one of the United States. Restricting access to a law is fundamentally wrong. Again, a minor argument for recovering actual costs of providing access to it could be made, but that's it.

    Next fix is the IT department. Is the website done in-house or is it an outside firm? Either way, what do we have to do so we can start all over? The website is a disaster, and has gotten steadily worse since I've been using it. It was at least navigable 4 or 5 yrs. ago, but every "upgrade" since then has been worse and worse. I could tell you everything that's wrong with it but I'd be here all day... As a minor example; just this week, they've changed the login procedure 3 stinkin' times. :rolleyes: There comes a point where you just have to put it out of its misery. I wouldn't save a thing about it - scrap it all and start from the beginning.

    And then - ICC loves its committee's, right? So next is forming a committee that might accomplish some good - the Code Reduction Committee. Their only job would be to recommend to the membership which code sections (or even, gulp!, entire codes!!) to get rid of/remove/delete/eliminate. Go through every book ICC puts out, line by line, and get rid of all the $%!t that doesn't need to be there. All anybody is interested in nowadays is adding more, more, more, and making things more difficult to get to the end of a project. Politics aside, the "get rid of two regulations for every one new one" is close to the greatest idea I've ever heard from a gov't. official. If we want the construction industry to grow (which keeps all of us, and everybody at ICC, in a job), we should definitely be embracing that mindset and the philosophy behind it. Just because the code(s) are getting bigger doesn't mean they're getting better.

    While we're on committee's, we can eliminate/consolidate some of the rest of them. Did you know that there are 43 committee's currently listed on the (crappy) website committee page? 43!?!? And some of those committee's have their own committee's!? Every time each one of them meets/travels/does any kind of business, ICC spends money. It's crazy. I mean really, a rainwater collection committee? o_O Wouldn't most people believe that the already-existing plumbing committee could take care of catching water in a barrel? Giving every single interest their own committee at some point becomes counterproductive, and just adds to the artificial bloat of all the codes.

    Once we get all that sorted then we can move to a 5 year code cycle, to get us out of this constant race to upgrade/fix/change/repair/add new to the codes that we're in. It might even give a few locals time to get caught up, so maybe we won't have me enforcing one version, the next town over another version, and the County still another. Wouldn't it be cool to have a minute to breathe between adopting the current code and when the next one comes out? And I don't think "rapidly evolving materials" or technology or whatever is a valid argument against this, either. There is an "engineered design" clause in all the codes - if materials/technology outgrows the codes in those 5 years, surely the engineered design can account for the difference. I'm sure the engineers would tell you it can!

    And then after all that, we can get started on the voting methods/procedures/eligible voters/etc., the Annual Meeting/Code Hearings themselves, the certification/testing/ceu procedures, the plan review office, the affiliate companies, etc., etc., etc. And I haven't even started yet on where ICC should be most publically involved, which is with their chapters in Statehouses in all 50. I can't think of a single valid reason why, if an ICC chapter is lobbying for or against something in their Statehouse, that an ICC rep is not standing beside them.


    Edit: After reading all that again, I think everything here could be applied to NFPA as well (save for the last couple sentences about chapters and staff). They don't do it any better than ICC, so it's not an ICC-exclusive set of issues.
     
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  18. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    Jcarver, I'm a little short on time right now so let me address your first two comments. The codes are available for free now and have been for quite some time. ICC, NFPA, ASTM, ASHRAE, etc. Just go to their websites. I will admit that they are in a view only but there are there. I would disagree that the IP argument is flawed. Not according to the law of the land. The recent ruling on NFPA, ASTM, ASHRAE, litigation vs. Carl Malamud (Public Resource.org) is the best example I can think of and this is a very recent (last month or so) ruling. Malamud lost big time. check out the link: http://www.usglassmag.com/2016/09/court-hears-crucial-case-over-access-to-standards/ By the way, once a jurisdiction adopts a code it does become law but it does not become the property of that jurisdiction. The courts have already ruled on that. It's also interesting the Malamud lost the same argument with the German Supreme Court last year.

    Now here is the real challenge for ICC as well as any other SDO. The time has passed to rely solely on publications especially in print form to maintain a sufficient, steady, and predictable revenue stream to keep the lights on. The best possible way I can see to maintain what we have and perhaps grow is to diversify the companies financial portfolio. Such as ES, IAS, SRCC, SWCC and look for additional possible acquisitions that add value to the ICC family of companies. With that said, when I first got on the board we were really hurting on the financial end of things. The board gave the CEO direction based on the information provided to the board as well as our own independent and collective research. The results speak for themselves as today ICC is in its best financial position ever. Now with that said it gives us the opportunity to actively look for future acquisitions as well as providing additional services to our members and customers. Contrary to some beliefs where does the idea come from that a nonprofit absolutely has to have a flat or zero budget every year without any profit for future ventures? Research and development, membership services, the cost of good produced that seem to go up every year, buildings, taxes that never seem to go down but will surly rise, employee wages and total compensation?

    Thanks for the comments and I hope this helps some. I'll do my best to get back to your other comments as time allows.
     
  19. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Not into this copyright thing or court ruling


    """""By the way, once a jurisdiction adopts a code it does become law but it does not become the property of that jurisdiction. The courts have already ruled on that. It's also interesting the Malamud lost the same argument with the German Supreme Court last year. """

    Would you say the majority of ahj's are required to have a code book available

    If joe public wants to see it

    And maybe at a price copy pages of it for Joe Public???






     
  20. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    I.T. Your point is well taken believe me. You might find it interesting that ICC budgets almost twice as much as companies of similar size for I.T. I should know as I serve on the budget committee and the entire board gets this information as well. I will not give specific numbers because of my fiduciary responsibilities. Let's say that we did just scrap the whole thing and start from scratch. You would be talking about not hundreds of thousands of dollars but millions. I.T. as I'm sure you well know is a very expensive proposition to sat the least. The ICC website is huge with so much information that it's challenging to manage. I have worked on this for quite some time with not a whole lot of substantial improvement. So I guess I have fallen short of the mark for sure. It would be nice if we had the resources of Amazon to put a ton of money into it but we do not. I would recommend using "My ICC" at the top of the page where you can customize your quick links for pages that you might visit a lot.
     

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