Taking Aim At Barriers To Innovations From Codes And Standards

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Program is taking aim at barriers to innovations from codes and standards. Building America will release Code Compliance Briefs to facilitate the conversation between builders, installers, and code officials when an innovative product or technique is used in the field. The new content will reside under the Compliance Tab in the Building America Solution Center labeled Code Compliance Brief.

The intent of the Building America Code Compliance Briefs is to provide additional information to help ensure innovative measures will be deemed in acceptance with the code or standard. Briefs will include notes for code officials on how to plan review and field inspect and can also help the builder or remodeler with the proposed designs and provide the jurisdiction with information for acceptance.

By providing the same information about proven innovations to all interested parties, the Building America Solution Center will facilitate code compliance for innovations at the time of plan review and field inspection, avoiding compliance problems and costly delays.

The need for Building America Code Compliance Briefs was identified as part of the new Building America Code and Standard Innovations (CSI) initiative, designed to identify and help overcome barriers to innovation encountered during Building America research and demonstrations. CSI barriers are defined as any requirement in a code, standard, or rating method that:

  • requires the wrong thing,
  • prohibits an innovation,
  • discourages an innovation, or
  • does not encourage an innovation that would lead to better, more efficient homes.

The first major activity undertaken by the Building America CSI initiative was development of additional guidance to builders, remodelers, and code officials through the Building America Solution Center to aid in code compliance for proven Building America innovations. Building America Guidance for Identifying and Overcoming Code, Standard, and Rating Method Barriers will be used to help identify needed Code Compliance Briefs for the Building America Solution Center.

Two Building America code compliance briefs have already been developed and can be viewed at the following links: