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Louisiana: Stay Focused, Stay the Course

In the building profession, we are constantly presented

with challenges that require us to step up to the plate and take action. The selection and adoption of the building code to be followed, is an important and one of the most fundamental challenges to be met. Once the decision to adopt a statewide code has been made, it still takes time–sometimes years, to work through the processes, adopt the codes and enforce them. However, states affected by last year’s tragic storm-induced destruction, face a more immediate need.

Louisiana has adopted the current International Codes and Mississippi is beginning the process. These are bold steps toward safer structures that will provide greater economical and life safety benefits to building owners and occupants. The urgent need to have regulation in place, however, will not elimintate the obstacles these states will surely encounter. Just as other states in the past and those currently in the process, the adoption process is subject to a myriad of complications. For instance, the state of Pennsylvania adopted state codes about 18 months ago, but it took years before the process reached final adoption, most likely due to opposition, apathy, positioning and ignorance. If you’ve ever been involved in the process, you know and understand this all too well.

After addressing the immediate human needs, Mississippi and Louisiana will focus on economic restoration through rebuilding. Most everyone will have an opinion resonating coast to coast and perhaps even internationally about how this should be done. From an adoption perspective, I suggest:

  • Keep focused on desired results. Working with residents, developers, municipal and government officials to ensure safe, code compliant housing and commercial buildings can’t be avoided. Nonetheless, the overall focus should be on the big picture and the central goals while resolving the day-to-day issues.

  • Stay the right course. It may be difficult, even frustrating and at times seem fruitless. At the end of the process, enforcement will be easier and everyone will benefit with enhanced life safety measures, injuries prevented, and property damage reduced.

  • Listen. Other states may be helpful in avoiding mistakes, but ultimately, the code must serve local needs and conditions.

Richard A. Piccolo is president of B & F Technical Code Services, Inc. With more than 30 years in the building code and fire industry, Mr. Piccolo is a Master Code Professional, a Certified Building Official, a Certified Fire Official, a Certified Property Maintenance Inspector, a Certified Building Inspector, a Certified Plans Examiner, an Illinois Certified Fire Inspector and a Certified Firefighter III. He has helped write building and fire codes for the state of Illinois as well as a number of municipalities.
B & F Technical Code Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 957648
2401 W. Hassell Road., Suite 1550
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
  Phone: (847) 490-1443
  Toll-Free (800) 232-5523
  Fax: (847) 490-1476