The construction industry took a big step forward Feb. 1, when the three major building code organizations - known widely by the acronyms BOCA, ICBO and SBCCI - combined to form the International Code Council.
The move should help processors introduce innovative products into the ultraconservative construction market.
First off, let's be clear: Construction companies have an obligation to be careful about new products. After all, they're not making disposable goods that can be recalled in a week if something goes wrong. And look at the millions of dollars' worth of damage that a product failure can cause, as was the case with polybutylene pipe and acetal fittings in the mid-1990s. That eventually concluded with a $950 million court settlement.
That said, until now, the system for introducing new products into the construction market has been a bureaucratic mess. To get nationwide approval on a new product, processors have had to go through the same process with all three regional groups: BOCA (Building Officials and Code Administrators International), ICBO (International Conference of Building Officials), and SBCCI (Southern Building Code Congress International).
Those groups will be consolidated during the next few months under the umbrella of Falls Church, Va.-based ICC.