The International Code Council is closely tracking how the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting our industry. We have compiled aggregated information from the Code Council, governments, and building and fire prevention departments around the world. We highlight relevant virtual products, solutions, services and best practices to support business continuity for the building safety community.
As cities and states issue declarations and public health orders as a result of the crisis, building and fire prevention departments are essential in ensuring that healthcare infrastructure, including temporary structures and occupancies, is built and maintained to ensure occupant safety, and that regulations that require disinfected ventilation through hospital mechanical systems, and safe and sanitary plumbing systems, including water, sanitary drainage, and medical gas systems, are adhered to in the field. The construction industry is also critical to our pandemic response and our nation’s resilience, and will be even more vital to the recovery that follows.
News and Resources
There’s a lot of information out there about COVID-19. As a building safety professional, here’s what you need to know:
- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released guidance on critical functions that should continue normal operations. Many building and compliance activities are deemed critical.
- Eligible entities in the U.S. may receive disaster relief funds appropriated by the Congress to reimburse the costs of emergency measures to protect the public health and safety of their communities. Learn more.
- Federal resources: COVID-19 information for code professionals
We’re here to help you during this difficult time. Here are the latest updates from the Code Council, including deadline extensions and other service updates.
- Our office locations are closed, but we are here for you virtually to provide the quick, easy-to-access products and services you need.
- We have extended the 2020 Code Council Chapter Annual Report deadline to April 15. Emails will be sent directly to Chapter officers with further details.
- We have extended award nominationsto May 1. Read more
- Nominations for the Innovation in Code Administration Award are now open until June 30, 2020.
- We have extended the deadline to submit the Emory R. Rodgers Leadership in Building Safety Fellowship application from April 1, 2020 to May 1, 2020.
- We are extending all currently active membership accounts due to terminate in March, April or May through June 1, 2020. Membership Services will continue to send electronic invoices and reminders for payment. This extension covers all Code Council member categories.
- We are extending the renewal dates of all certifications scheduled to expire between March 1 and August 31, 2020. The new renewal date will be extended to September 1, 2020.
- Applications are being accepted for the following 2021-2022 Code Development Cycle Committees until June 1, 2020:
- 2021/2022 Code Committees – responsible for the review and evaluation of code change proposals submitted to the 2021 I-Codes.
- 2021/2022/2023 Code Interpretation Committees – provide technical support for adopting jurisdictions by processing official interpretations for the I-Codes.
- 2021/2022/2023 Code Correlation Committee – responsible for evaluating matters of consistency, coordination and format in the I-Codes.
More than one-fifth of building and fire prevention departments report that remote staff do not have access to hard copy codes. Free-view online versions of the International Codes and additional materials are available through the Code Council's Digital Codes Library. In addition the Code Council offers a premium subscription service, premiumACCESS, for those looking for more enhanced features.
Don’t miss these upcoming events:
- Join us for a 60-minute webinar offering a walkthrough of the features found on the Code Council’s digital library on April 8 at noon CT. See registration details here:
- Join us and our panels of in-house experts for a free webinar on Digital Solutions for Continuity of Government on Thursday, April 9 at 1 pm ET.
- Join us for virtual training. See upcoming sessions below:
- 2018 IFC® and IBC® Hazardous Materials | April 7
- 2015 IRC® Performing Residential Plumbing Inspections | April 8
- Basic Code Enforcement | April 16
The coronavirus pandemic presents unique challenges to building and public safety communities. Please share your experiences to help us gather best practices that advocate for code official's interests.
The Code Council has compiled examples of how building departments and jurisdictions are responding to the pandemic. As your member association, we can help you weather this crisis and connect with others around the world dealing with the same problems and concerns.
Several Code Council chapters are tracking department statuses in their area.
- The Virginia Building Code Officials Association website tracks building department operating statuses in Virginia.
- The Building Officials Association of Florida is similarly tracking whether permitting centers are open in Florida, whether inspections are continuing, and offers resources for building departments adapting to coronavirus.
Departments have made adjustments to the way they are conducting inspections including following the CDC’s recommendations. Many departments have utilized virtual inspection, which are conducted between the customer and an inspector by using a video call on a smart phone or tablet using FaceTime, Google Duo, Skype etc. These options require internet, cell phones, and the adoption of appropriate technology resources.
We have identified and compiled a sample of jurisdictions that have developed guidelines for virtual inspections:
- Arlington County, Virginia
- City of Austin, Texas
- North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board
- North Carolina Department of Insurance
- North Las Vegas
- Los Angeles County Video Inspection Process and Inspection Guide for PV Systems For One- and Two-Family Dwellings
- City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety's "COVID-19 Safety Guidance for Construction Sites"
If you are looking to switch to virtual permitting and inspections, we can help you. The Code Council offers a highly configurable web-based software solution for building and code enforcement officials called Municity. This software includes permitting, inspection management, mobile inspection, and public access to the permitting and scheduling process. Please contact Dan Foster, email@example.com, (855) 436-2633 for more information.
In order to maintain social distancing while conducting plan reviews, working remotely is advised. Moving systems online and responding to customers by phone or email, are options that can be employed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers.
If you need extra support during this time, the Code Council offers online plan review as well as services including progress tracking, digital reports, online payments, automated notifications, and a customer dashboard. Additionally, the Code Council offers consulting on the technical aspects of the International Codes or other related code issues. Our professional staff is available to provide necessary technical expertise and plan review in the building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, energy conservation, accessibility, and fire protection disciplines.
For more information, please contact Michael W. Giachetti, 888-422-7233 x 4337.
Building and fire prevention departments across the nation continue to issue permits while maintaining the health and safety of their employees and customers. To accomplish this, we advise maintaining social distancing and conducting as much work remotely as possible. For example, Seattle details how they have closed many municipal offices to maintain social distancing, and gives instruction on their online systems for permitting, plan review, and payment.
To make the permitting process work smoothly when remote, departments can:
- Set up a phone line and/or email alias to organize questions and applications.
- Use photos, emails, cloud-based file sites, and electronic applications to help reduce the number of physical files and improve efficiency.
- Consider permitting payment online or by phone.
If you are looking to switch to virtual permitting and inspections, we can help you. The Code Council offers a highly configurable web-based software solution for building and code enforcement officials called Municity. This software includes permitting, inspection management, mobile inspection, and public access to the permitting and scheduling process. Find out more.
Certification & Training
Most code officials must complete continuing educational credits (CEUs) to maintain their certifications or satisfy state or local requirements. With many in-person classes being canceled and many departments imposing travel restrictions, officials may wish to consider online classes. We have resources to help you navigate exams, renewal date deadlines and CEUs during this challenging time.
We’ve selected courses from across our catalog that any individual, member or not, can take at no cost. These FREE courses will count towards CEUs for future renewals.
Free Courses Available
- Leadership Series: Building Your Bench | .15 CEUs | Online, Self-Paced
- Leadership Series: Challenging Discussions | .15 CEUs | Online, Self-Paced
- Leadership Series: Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say | .15 CEUs | Online, Self-Paced
- Permit Technician Career Path | .1 CEUs | Online, Self-Paced
- 2021 IMC Highlights Web Session | .15 CEUs | Live Web Session | April 23
- 2021 IPC Highlights Web Session | .15 CEUs | Live Web Session | April 9
ICC Digital Codes Library
Are your hard copy books in the office? More than one-fifth of building and fire prevention departments report that remote staff do not have access to hard copy codes. Free view online versions of the International Codes and additional materials are available through the Code Council's open access website.
As of March 13, the President of the United States has declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, with many governors also declaring it an emergency or disaster in their own states. Other countries around the world have issued similar declarations.
These proclamations often coincide with new guidance or rules restricting businesses and public gatherings. What activities are deemed “essential services” are determined at the state and local level. In several states, including Texas, construction is considered an essential service, however in many other places such as Philadelphia, construction has been halted. In New York City, where there are a high number of outbreaks at this time, the Department of Buildings has special operational procedures in place.
The situation is fluid, and declarations can change day by day and hour by hour. This news link provides current information on where outbreaks are concentrated nationwide.
Visit the National Governors Association (NGA) website for executive orders, emergency declarations and a matrix tracking state actions.