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Codes and Standards

When it comes to designing and building a new residential or commercial project, it is important to take note of the codes and standards that are in play wherever the project is being built. Every few years it seems that the codes, standards and green building programs are constantly changing, making it even more important to be up-to-date with what's going on. It also bears to note that not all of the codes and standards work hand-in-hand with each other, or the green building programs that architects and designers are working with.

To combat this, it was recently announced that the International Code Council (ICC), ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) and the U.S. Green Building Council have agreed to work together on the development of Standard 189.1, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), and the LEED green building program.

According to the press release, the agreement aims to create a comprehensive framework for jurisdictions to implement and adopt green building regulations and codes and/or provide incentives for voluntary leaderships such as LEED. It outlines the development, maintenance and implementation of new versions of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings and the IgCC, which will be combined into one regulatory tool. It also looks to align LEED with the new code to ensure a streamlined, effective set of regulatory and above-code options for jurisdictions across the country.

This move, deemed unprecedented, shows each of the organizations desire to work together and create more streamlined codes and regulations, further shaping the future of the built environment.

In other industry news, the AIA's Architecture Billing Index in July reached its highest mark since 2007. The July ABI was 55.8, up from 53.5 in June, according to the AIA. The ABI has also shown a steady increase these past three months, as the demand for design services and construction spending increases.

"Business conditions for the design and construction marketplace, and those industries associated with it, appear to be well-positioned for continued growth in the coming months," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, Ph.D. "The key to a more widespread boost in design activity continues to be the institutional sector which is starting to exhibit signs of life after languishing for the better part of the last five-plus years."

Both of these are good signs for the industry, as five major organizations agree to work together to streamline some of the major codes and regulations, along with LEED, and there are continuing signs of an improving economy as the ABI continues to increase monthly.

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