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Running with the “Code Rats”

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 11, 2012

I love buildings. I am a lawyer by training, not an engineer or design professional, so this is a love that has evolved over time, from my work over the past twenty years on energy efficiency and from seeing the many ways building design can impact people's lives.

While I respect and admire the architects, consultants, roofing contractors, facility managers, and all the other committed construction and property management professionals, it is the "Code Rats,” who currently have my full and undivided attention.

"Code Rats,” a term very affectionately given by one of their own, to the individuals participating in an almost continuous and for most of us invisible process known as "code development.” Building Codes. Energy Codes. Fire Codes. You name a performance element of a building and there is a code provision to address it. ICC. ASHRAE. NFPA. These are the code development and standard setting groups that "code rats” study and spend much of their lives working with to achieve building and design standards that provide safety, comfort, and increasingly, high environmental performance.

I am not a "techie” and have only limited experienced at code hearings. That is about to change as I prepare to attend the IgCC hearings in Dallas next week. What I can say is that the dedicated professionals from all different stakeholder organizations (local government to product manufacturers to building owners) who spend literally months and sometimes even years developing the building codes deserve much praise and appreciation from those of us who inhabit the built environment.

But I think they are happy just being called "Code Rats.”

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