8C — September 17 - October 21, 2021 — Fall Preview — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


C ivil E ngineering

By William Hinson Jr., CBO, PE, ECS Group Third party code consulting is the answer you’ve been looking for


states and smaller jurisdic- tions, there can be multiple versions with hundreds of local or state amendments. In effect, hundreds of different building codes are possible. When asked recently, a group of architecture students and their professors, said the Build- ing Code was a collection of recommended practices. They were wrong of course. The building codes are regulations or laws. The reason they got it wrong is that most architec- tural and engineering students do not study building codes in school. Codes are not fully

introduced until the students become employees. Building codes are enforced by the local building depart- ment plan examiners and in- spectors. In the past, plan reviewers and inspectors were commonly drawn from contrac- tors moving from the private into the government sector. Over the last several decades, we have seen major shifts in the construction labor pool. With retirements and changes in the industry, the pool has become somewhat shallow. Organizations like the ICC have put efforts into trying to

attract high school students into code enforcement as a post high school career. But today, staffing is such a challenge that currently there are several counties, towns and cities in Virginia that have less than two or three inspectors for the entire jurisdiction. Inspection delays can range up to a week or more per trade, even when requested well ahead of time To quickly summarize, codes are laws that change every three years, applied by design professionals who are learning details on the job and enforced by an ever-dwindling supply of officials in local code depart - ments. So, what is the solution? The solution is to step out of the government services paradigm and reframe code compliance in the private sec- tor and use third party code professionals, often technical, design and former building official professionals that have found life and fire safety to be a rewarding career. If we reframe code compliance as a professional service, not a law enforcement function and consider using a third-party inspector, not as an adversary, but as a source for life and fire safety due diligence, you can improve your project and begin to regain control of your schedule. William Hinson CBO, PE serves as manager of code consulting services at ECS. He holds a professional engineer license in several states and is certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the International Code Council as a Certified Build - ing Official. MAREJ continued from page 7C practices, urgent care clinics, and veterinary clinics are step- ping up their leasing activities at shopping centers. Health care providers make appeal- ing tenants for retail owners, experts say, pointing to their longer lease terms, stable credit ratings and resistance to e-commerce competition. Looking forward, national re- tailers are hunting for bargain rents after a business slow- down caused by the pandemic. Jay White is president of Apex Realty Advisory. MAREJ The retail markets demise is greatly exaggerated

s a member of the real estate development or construction industry,

on the horizon. The first step in solving a problem is to gain an under- standing of the major issues. In this case, the best place to start is the building codes themselves. Developed by na- tional organizations, the codes are adopted by states or local jurisdictions. Currently, codes are developed by the Interna- tional Code Council (ICC) or the National Fire Protection Asso- ciation (NFPA). In most towns, cities and states, the ICC codes are adopted with revisions and amendments roughly every three years. As a result, across

consider the time it takes to def ine a project, gath- er financing, select design- ers, and con- tractors only to find your project come to a crawl

WilliamHinson Jr.

when submitted to the city, town or county for permitting and inspecting. We have all been there, but there is hope

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