ICC News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Madison Neal
July 2, 2020
(202) 754-1173
International building code development/research organizations agree to cooperate on enhancing resilience through codes
Code developers and research organizations from the U.S., Australia, Canada, and New Zealand issue findings and opportunities for addressing changing risks in building codes

Washington, D.C. – The Australian Building Codes Board, the National Research Council of Canada, New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and International Code Council today publicly released the statement of outcomes that emerged from the recently-launched global initiative on building resilience. While the world – including the building safety community – continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is recognition that risks to buildings and communities caused by increasingly intense severe weather events do not disappear and must continue to be addressed. Following a devastating bushfire season in Australia and on the cusp of the summer hurricane season, the launch of the global resiliency dialogue represents a commitment by the four organizations to collaborate in the development of building codes that draw on both building science and climate science to improve the resilience of buildings and communities to intensifying risks from weather-related natural hazards.

The document that was released today, Findings on Changing Risk and Building Codes, emphasizes that building codes need to evolve to address new weather-related risks to minimize human suffering, loss of life, and economic loss. The findings, along with the desired outcomes of collaboration by the signatories, are applicable throughout the world. The leaders of this initiative are encouraging other governments and non-governmental organizations to join in endorsing the collaborative work. Organizations may learn more and endorse the initiative through an online submission process at www.globalresiliency.org.

In addition to collaborating to support research initiatives and information sharing that will help promote more resilient buildings, the group is now embarking on the development of international building resilience guidelines, designed to be globally applicable.

“The issuance of this international statement elevates the Code Council’s building safety mission and provides a platform for a valuable exchange of resources and best practices with like-minded organizations around the world, as well as for expanding the benefit of the advanced research being conducted by our partners,” said Code Council CEO Dominic Sims, CBO. “We will continue to engage stakeholders as well as the private sector to achieve maximum impact and contribution to this global resilience initiative.”

Neil Savery, Chief Executive of the Australian Building Codes Board added, “In supporting the outcomes statement, the ABCB leadership committed to continued collaboration with its colleagues from America, New Zealand and Canada.  The opportunity to share information, experience and development of building code content and standards for natural hazards that are common to each country, can help create more resilient buildings, as well as contribute to mitigating the environmental impacts of buildings.  As the outcomes statement identifies, building codes already establish a significant level of occupant and public safety, and need to remain contemporary, but it is important to note that they cannot guarantee this given the nature of extreme weather events.”

Michel Dumoulin, Vice-President, Engineering at the National Research Council of Canada, noted ”We are committed to ensuring our buildings and infrastructure are built to be resilient, and remain dedicated to this through our support for the initiative and the exchange of international best practices that will benefit our partners across the globe.”

Following the approval of the New Zealand Government’s endorsement of the findings by the Honorable Minister Jenny Salesa, Minister for Building and Construction, the Manager of Building Performance and Engineering and Building for Climate Change programme lead Dave Robson noted, “We are excited to be part of this initiative and look forward to supporting its growth and development in the coming years. Gathering information and insights from other countries will help us develop responses to climate change in New Zealand and support our Pacific neighbors. International collaboration and coordinated responses are critical to managing risks buildings and communities across the world are facing from climate change.”

Click here to download the document.

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About the International Code Council

The International Code Council is a nonprofit association that provides a wide range of building safety solutions including product evaluation, accreditation, certification, codification and training. It develops model codes and standards used worldwide to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures.

About the Australian Building Codes Board

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) is a joint initiative of all levels of government in Australia, together with the building and plumbing industries. Its key objective is to oversee issues relating to health, safety, amenity and accessibility, and sustainability in buildings.  The ABCB promotes efficiency in the design, construction and performance of buildings and plumbing systems through the National Construction Code (NCC), and the development of effective regulatory and non-regulatory approaches.  The ABCB aims to establish minimum, performance-based, proportional and cost effective codes and standards, as well as promote regulatory systems that are consistent, as far as practicable, between the States and Territories.

About the National Research Council of Canada

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is Canada’s largest federal research and development organization. NRC’s Codes Canada plays a vital role in the code development process by providing technical and administrative support to the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) and its related committees, which are responsible for the development of the National Model Building Codes. The NRC ensures that the best available knowledge from across Canada and around the world is brought to bear on the development of the national codes. The unique association between the NRC and the CCBFC gives the Commission ready access to NRC scientists, engineers and state-of-the-art facilities, enhancing Canada’s position as a world leader in the development of comprehensive, yet practical, construction codes.

About New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is the Government’s lead business-facing agency. Its contribution to improving the well-being of New Zealanders is summarized in the Ministry’s purpose, to grow New Zealand for all.  The Building System Performance Branch is the steward of New Zealand’s building and construction regulatory system. The Branch works alongside building practitioners, government agencies, other regulators and the wider construction industry to understand what matters to the sector and to improve the regulatory system.  This includes looking at how the building regulatory system protects lives at an acceptable level of risk and cost, as well as managing the system that regulates building work and monitoring its effectiveness; reviewing the Building Code and producing documents that show how to comply with it; a dual regulatory role, with building consent authorities undertaking daily operations; monitoring the performance of Building Consent Authorities, who directly regulate building work; investigating complaints and making determinations about disputes on certain building matters; and providing advice and guidance to the Government and the wider sector on issues and topics of interest to building and construction.