IAS Building Department Recognition Program
The International Accreditation Service (IAS) has implemented a new Building Department Recognition (BDR) program that recognizes building and code enforcement departments — as well as third-party companies providing building department services — that have demonstrated a commitment to service, safety and continuous improvement.
Through the BDR program, organizations are recognized for quality, permitting, plan review, inspection and property maintenance code enforcement services. The Building Department Recognition process is online-based, and IAS representatives work closely with applicants to complete the process in an efficient and timely manner.
IAS BDR is available to local building departments as well as third-party companies that conform to the criteria contained in the Recognition Criteria for Building Departments, Code Enforcement Departments, and Third Parties Providing Building And/Or Property Maintenance Code Enforcement Services (RC418). The criteria contained in RC418 was extracted from the Accreditation Criteria for Building Departments, Code Enforcement Departments and Third Parties Providing Building And/Or Property Maintenance Code Enforcement Services (AC251) accreditation criteria used for achieving IAS Building Department Accreditation. As such, the BDR program may be considered a first step for local building departments as well as third-party companies who may want to pursue AC251 accreditation at some future time.
Building Department Recognition provides an economical alternative to obtain:
- Confirmation of service quality by an independently recognized accreditation organization.
- Increased public confidence.
- Higher public profile of department code professionals and the organization.
The BDR assessment process using RC418 is completed online. The process begins with the submittal of the recognition application and payment of application and assessment fees to IAS. Once the application and fee payment are received, the applicant is provided with a list of documentation required to submitted to IAS that reflects conformance to the requirements of RC418.
Upon completion of the documentation upload by the building department or third-party company, an IAS assessor conducts a preliminary documentation review to ensure that sufficient documentation has been received so that the online assessment may be completed in a timely and efficient manner. Upon verification that the documentation is satisfactory, the IAS assessor will contact the local building official and/or third-party company representative to schedule the dates for the online assessment.
During the online assessment, an IAS assessor will conduct a detailed review of the submitted documentation to verify conformance with the requirements of RC418. The building official or a designated staff member(s) or third-party company representative will be requested to remain available throughout the online assessment process to answer any questions that may come up during the assessment. Internal and stakeholder interviews are not required. Upon completion of the assessment, the building official or third-party company representative is provided with a written report describing any areas where corrective measures (nonconformities) are required to conform to RC418.
Upon satisfactory resolution of all nonconformities identified in the assessment report, a hearing is scheduled before the IAS Accreditation Review Committee — Building Departments (ARC-BD). Upon approval of the ARC-BD, a Certificate of Recognition is granted for a period of three years.
In 2005, IAS implemented the Building Department Accreditation, a program by which building department and third-party companies providing building department services could achieve IAS accreditation of permitting, plan review, inspection and property maintenance code enforcement services. The criteria for achieving building department accreditation are contained in the Accreditation Criteria for Building Departments, Code Enforcement Departments and Third Parties Providing Building And/Or Property Maintenance Code Enforcement Services (AC251).
The AC251 accreditation process was developed based upon input from local building officials and involves a robust and comprehensive assessment of the services provided. The accreditation process also involves interviews with representatives from internal peer departments that regularly interact with the building department, and observations of permitting, plan review, inspection and property maintenance code enforcement staff during the performance of their respective duties. Accordingly, the building department accreditation assessment process can require a substantial time commitment on the part of local building departments.
While local building officials recognize the value of attaining IAS Building Department Accreditation, several building officials expressed concern that their jurisdiction lacked the fiscal resources and/or time to complete the building department accreditation assessment process. Those building officials requested that IAS look at developing a program that would provide meaningful recognition of local building departments that are providing high-quality professional services but lack the resources required to achieve accreditation. In response to those requests, IAS developed the BDR program.