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Robert Wible

Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age at FIATECH & Principal, R. Wible & Associates

Oregon Building Officials Association Quarterly Business Meeting

January 23, 2009 Eugene, OR

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Getting & Staying Ahead of the Curve: Successful Actions by Building Departments

  • Share observations about forces impacting state and local government

  • “The Streamlining Imperative”

  • Actions you can take & tools from the Alliance you can use to enhance public safety & economic development /recovery - “Down Time is the Best Time”

  • Examples of new tools – ePlan Review & “L.A. Basin Project” – Demonstrate interoperability in mobile field inspections – safety/damage assessments

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The Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age at FIATECH

  • A Public/Private Partnership of Associations & Government Agencies – Summer of 2001

    • NACo, Mayors, NGA, NASCIO, Federal Agencies HUD, DOE, NIST…


    • Wisconsin; Los Angeles; Fairfax County, VA ; Salem, OR, etc..

  • Share best practices to improve gov’t effectiveness & efficiency

  • Provide streamlining resources that, when adopted, have reduced regulatory costs by 40-60 %

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The Alliance Mission Age at FIATECH

  • Enhance our nation’s public safety, disaster resilience and economic competitiveness…

  • By streamlining and applying information technology to the nation’s regulatory process…

  • Making it more effective and efficient.

  • This is not about regulatory abandonment!!!

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Forces Impacting Construction And Regulation Age at FIATECH

  • Our world is in rapid transformation/turmoil

  • We live and work in unique and challenging times:

    • At no other time in past 30 years have economic & safety pressures been greater on our communities & construction industry (9-11 & Katrina)

    • At no other time has public impression of the competency of government been lower

    • At no other time has technological change been more rapid

    • Challenges of an economy in severe recession

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Forces Impacting Construction, Elected Officials and Regulation

6 CHALLENGING FORCES – 1990s to Present – Now coming together in a perfect storm….

  • Economic

    • changing role of nation in global economy & now in severe recession

  • Reduced Resources

    • demands for downsizing and increased efficiency in govt.

  • Public Safety

    • greater demand from natural disasters and terrorism

  • Demographic

    • aging population & immigration

  • Environmental

    • energy costs, resource depletion & global warming

  • Technological

    • rapid changes & new technologies

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Sample Forces Regulation


  • Tax payer & legislature limitations on revenues/expenditures

  • Downsize government & R.I.F.s

  • While at same time demands for greater governmental efficiency with less resources

    • “Do more with nothing”

    • Imperative to attract & keep businesses open

    • Yet be prepared for stimulus and next economic boom!

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Construction Industry Response Regulation

  • Initial Response to Overwhelming Economic Forces Caused by Recession:

    - Retrench

    - Postpone projects or build elsewhere

    - Home Builders - Dump land & look at higher densities for future building

    - Look for and promote “shovel ready” projects for economic stimulus packages - State/Fed

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Construction Industry Response – Regulation Growing Demands to

  • Build Safer, Faster, Better & Less Cost by:

    - Building Green & Sustainable

    - Applying Information & Other Technologies to Construction to reduce waste:

    • BIMs (Building Information Modeling) for whole building life cycle - construction thru O & M, renovation & demolition.

    • Supply chains are integrated into Virtual Building design and construction systems

    • Support IT for less time in regulatory system

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Government’s Response to Forces? Regulation


    - Retrench

    - Go Green

    - Find ways to be

    more efficient

    - Promote Fed funding

    for “Shovel Ready”

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Pressures from Construction Industry & Elected Officials on Your Departments

  • Make your programs support their “Green Initiatives” - Fast track to green projects

  • Demand greater energy conservation enforcement out of codes depts.

  • Reduce Staff funding / travel/ resources

  • Demand greater efficiency (speed) in admin & enforcement activities & be prepared for next boom

  • Be ready to facilitate “shovel ready” projects

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The Efficiency Imperative = A “Streamlining Imperative”

  • With reduced investments, credit, for construction & revenues for government

  • With increasing unemployment

  • With greater emphasis on energy conservation, sustainability & reduced waste

  • Can no longer afford an inefficient regulatory system that:

    - Takes 60% more time than efficient systems

    - Slows use of innovative technologies

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Building Department Response ? Imperative”

  • How prepared are building departments to respond to these demands?

    - How Green?

    - How “regulatory ready?”

    - How staffed & funded ?

    - How efficient ?

    - What technologies in use ? Available?

    - What allies to support adequate response?

    A look at I.T. usage nationwide ……..

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The Regulatory System Response Thru the 2008 ? Imperative”

  • Nationwide, only 10% of 40,000 jurisdictions, adopting and enforcing building codes, use IT

    • Only 2% allow electronic submission of plans

    • less than 1% do reviews

    • Less than 4% use mobile inspection technology

  • Near total lack of inter-operability of building data within same jurisdiction

  • Virtually none between jurisdictions

  • Yet………

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Promising Jurisdiction Responses Imperative”

  • Statewide Responses: Oregon ePermitting project; Wisconsin looking into ePlan Review & BIM, Louisiana IT Roadmap

  • Regional Responses – Joint Venture in S. Bay Area of California looking at regional ePlan review

  • Multi-County approaches in several states

  • Growing number of local jurisdictions applying IT across all programs – reduce amount of time by 60 %

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So What Can Be Done to Respond & Get and Stay Ahead of the Curve?

  • What Can Be Done Now to Support Economy

    & be “Regulatory Ready” for “Shovel Ready” Stimulus Projects?

  • Internal Actions

  • Actions to be Taken Collectively

  • Two Sample Streamlining & IT Projects

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Moving from Behind the Curve to Ahead of It - Internal Actions

  • Addressing Perceptions vs. Realities

  • Turning Adversaries into Allies

  • Sharing Best Practices in Streamlining & Being both More Efficient & Green

  • Tools at your disposal now

  • An Agenda for Change – requiring interoperability in hardware / software

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Moving from Behind to Ahead of the Curve – Internal Actions

  • Addressing Perception vs. Reality – A Proactive

    approach - more outreach now to your

    external stakeholders & elected officials to:

    - Share examples of efficiencies you already have achieved

    - Ways in which you enhance economic development & speed to recovery from disasters

    - Identify areas in need of improvement & start to work on them ahead of being directed

    “Down Time” is the “Best Time” to assess & start action

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Moving from Behind to Ahead of the Curve Actions

  • Turning Adversaries into Allies:

    - Most successful programs reach out to external stakeholders and involve them in recommending & making improvements to their programs. (Milpitas, CA’s – “Partnership to Achieve Goals”)

    - Work now on staff culture – from regulator to partner in construction of safe, efficient buildings (Salem, OR – Advisory Committee)

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Moving from Behind to Ahead of the Curve Actions

  • Sharing Best Practices - Green & Streamlining

    - Identify & publicize existing green benefits from I.T. & streamlining already done – ePermitting, remote field inspection technology,

    IVR systems, etc.

    - Identify & publicize streamlining efficiencies – reduced time in regulatory system, more efficient uses of staff – 40% - 60% reductions.

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Alliance Streamlining Materials Help You Get & Stay Ahead of the Curve:

  • Work with Private Sector to act on the complex interacting forces impacting them & government

  • Identify & reduce barriers to streamlining

  • Work with stakeholders & elected officials to embrace & fund technologies & change

  • Successfully implement information technology to enhance effectiveness & efficiency

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Available Alliance Resources the Curve:

  • Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in The Digital Age - now at FIATECH identifies barriers, shares & promotes best practices to eliminate by producing:

    • Surveys, Guides & Information on Streamlining & I.T. for Elected Officials

      • Model Procurement Requirements

      • Demonstration of Interoperability

      • E-Plan, Remote Field Inspection, etc.

      • ROI Data for Jurisdictions

      • Streamlining Toolkit

      • Guides on IT Tools & How to Fund & Apply

      • Top 10 Reasons Why IT Not Used

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Tools You Can Use – Two Examples: Customers ePlan Review & Interoperability

  • White PapersePlan Submission/Review/Tracking & Storage

  • New White Paper:From Paper to Digits – Steps to Move Your Community into the Digital Age

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Specific Benefits of Electronic Plan Submittal, Review, Tracking & Storage

  • Speed building construction at reduced cost

  • Significantly reduce number of errors in design & construction

  • Significantly reduce energy used in repeated trips to building department / paper consumed, storage space

  • Speed reconstruction after a disaster

  • Prepare community for future – BIM, first responder database of “as-builts”

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Immediate Tracking & StorageGreen Benefits

  • Using e-Plan Submission/Review, a jurisdiction issuing 3,000 permits/year saves :

    • 312,00 miles of driving & 20,800 gallons of gas & $57,200 in fuel costs

    • 457,600 lbs of carbon dioxide emitted

    • 192,000 lbs of paper (239 trees)

    • Paper storage for 12,000 lbs of drawings

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How to Move from Paper to Digits Tracking & Storage& or Apply Other IT

  • Perform Self-Assessment using Work Group comprised of internal & external stakeholders (White Paper Checklist)

    • Work flow & work load

    • Personnel & Organizational issues

    • Operating Budgets

    • Technical expertise & existing technology

    • Communications & Coordination

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How to Move from Paper to Digits Tracking & Storage

  • Step by Step Process for Acquisition & Implementation including:

    • Access lessons learned

    • Build & maintain stakeholder support

    • How to work with Staff

    • Funding & RFP issues

    • Hardware (monitors) & software

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Successful Efforts to Move from Paper to Digits Tracking & Storage

  • Phasing in: Submission, Tracking, Storage, & then Electronic Plan Review

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Successful Efforts to Move From Paper to Digits Tracking & Storage

  • Lesson’s Learned by Communities that have added electronic plan submission, review, tracking & storage.

  • Case studies & information on other contacts:

    • Maricopa County, AZ

    • Osceola County, FL

    • Bend, OR

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Collective Actions We Can Take to Move Ahead of the Curve (OBOA)

  • Share your successes & lessons with others – including media, industry & elected officials

  • Look Ahead, Learn About and Support:

    - integration of BIM into ePlan systems

    - ICC’s SMARTcode initiative & use

  • Require interoperability in future procurements

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An Agenda for Change: Requiring Interoperability in Hardware / Software

  • Alliance Model Procurement Requirements

    Available on website:

  • Second Streamlining Example: The L.A. Basin Project – demonstration interoperability in hardware / software used in safety/disaster damage assessment reports – remote field inspections – Funded by U.S. DHS

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The Problem Hardware / Software

In the aftermath of a disaster

what can be done to speed:

- Conducting of safety/damage


- Getting inspection results

Into central database to understand magnitude?

- Completion & submission of ATC forms to get victims & Federal disaster assistance funds?

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Lesson From Katrina Hardware / Software

  • Mobile inspection technology

    can significantly speed

    conducting & compiling

    safety/damage assessments & immediately enter results onto forms to speed claims / recovery - 120,000 homes in 6 weeks!

  • L.A. Basin Project – Can we apply this in California with diverse hardware/software on a regional and then statewide basis?

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L.A. Basin Project Hardware / Software

  • In 2007 - CA OHS support, CA OES $125,000 grant from U.S. DHS to:

  • Work in L.A. Basin to “Demonstrate Regional Interoperability of Mobile Safety/Damage Assessment & Inspection Technologies” to prove concept CA & local govts can build:

    - a regional

    - a statewide network of safety/damage assessment inspectors to speed disaster reporting & recovery

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Demonstrating Interoperability in Remote Field Inspections- L.A. Basin

  • 10 month project with CA OES to:

    - Study feasibility of getting diverse hardware/software used in remote field inspection (damage assessment reports) to exchange data. - Survey of Region

    - Pilot demonstration project with 4 jurisdictions – Gardena, Glendale, San Dimas & Santa Clarita

    - Implement in regional disaster drill

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Demonstrating Interoperability in Remote Field Inspections- L.A. Basin

  • Diverse hardware: Lap tops , PDA’s, with diverse software (Accela, Infor/Hansen, Selectron, etc.)

  • Damage assessment data migrate immediately into FEMA forms

  • When successful expand to full L.A. Basin departments & then statewide

  • Start: May – June –Survey

  • Demos: August & November

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IVR and MOBILE L.A. Basin












Phase II - Pilot Demonstration

  • Pilot Demonstration:

    - Design methodology to use / link diverse

    hardware &

    software &

    get it to

    compile data

    & send to

    central point

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Outcome of Pilot Demonstration L.A. Basin

  • August 27, 2008:

  • 4Jurisdictions

    8 different devices

    3 different software

    systems & all:

    pulled down addresses, conducted inspections,

    uploaded to central data point & downloaded inspection

    results onto ATC – 20 forms

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Expanded Demonstration During Golden Guardian – 7.8 Quake L.A. Basin

  • Revised Methodology - Expand number of jurisdictions but also:

    - Test under realistic disaster conditions

    - “Grab and go”

    - Use more IVR

    - Use paper inspection forms – scan to upload

    - Central data point in GG SOC Sacramento

    - Mockup actual building – LAUSD Middle School #3 S. Shatto Place, L.A.

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Lessons Learned L.A. Basin

  • Simulated & actual

    damage conditions

    were successful test

    of technologies

  • Paper-based & IVR

    inspections strengthen

    future system

  • Inspection of mocked up school beneficial

  • Need to simplify all aspects of technology

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Recommendations to California L.A. Basin

  • Regional Network can be readily built using mobile technology, IVR & paper

  • Keep system simple

  • Work on issue of address uniformity

  • Work on interoperability standard to go into future procurements of IT

  • Build Regional & then Statewide Network

  • Share outcome from Phase II with other states to consider similar compatible networks (SAP)

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Next Steps – Phase III & IV with California - Under Development

  • Phase III – Build

    first network in

    S. California – 2009

  • Phase IV – Expand

    Network Statewide –

    2010 -2011 & expand

    to other states - Oregon ? April ’09 –”Cascadia Peril” ?

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Additional Resources to Help You Get & Stay Ahead of the Curve

  • ALLIANCE at FIATECH - Membership

    - Monthly conference calls / webinars on streamlining & IT issues with construction industry & IT Community

    - Share best practices & develop new streamlining & I.T. materials

    Also see article in December issue of ICC’s “Building Safety Journal”

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For More Information Curve

  • Visit our websites



  • I am located here in Oregon in Hillsboro 30% of time if you want to meet!

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