The International Code Council is making remote participation in the code development process a reality through cdpACCESS. cdpACCESS is a web-based tool that will help increase Member and stakeholder participation in code development while preserving the governmental consensus process.
The following are answers to frequently asked questions about cdpACCESS.
Q. To what degree will cdpACCESS allow collaboration on code change proposals? Will the collaboration be made part of the record?
cdpACCESS will allow optional collaboration on any code change proposal. Proponents will have the ability to invite individuals to discuss their proposals and network with stakeholders through private discussion forums and chat. Content generated through the collaboration tools will not be part of the official record.
Q. Will cdpACCESS provide participants with electronic notifications on upcoming code changes?
ICC is reviewing the possibility of providing opt-in electronic notifications to participants. It will be incumbent on the participant to access the agenda to ensure they are aware of all relevant code changes.
Q. What is the impact of real-time online voting on the length of Public Comment Hearings (PCH)?
cdpACCESS will not provide real-time online voting. Online voting will be open during a two-week window a short time after the PCH. The goal of this new system is to expand access, and we need to provide users with adequate time to vote even if they cannot watch the PCH testimony live.
Q. How will cdpACCESS improve the method of vetting code change proposals?
The collaboration process will give proponents the ability to discuss code change proposals with one another as well as with key stakeholders. This will lead to more tightly vetted proposals as well as a smaller number of them, since proponents will work together and combine ones that are similar.
Q. Will cdpACCESS be available to all Members or only Governmental Members?
Collaboration and participation in the code development process through cdpACCESS will be available to all participants. Only Governmental and Honorary Members will be eligible to vote at the Public Comment Hearing and the Online Governmental Consensus Vote which follows the Public Comment Hearing.
Q. How will ICC handle public comments for which the question is divided at the Public Comment Hearing?
The new process will dispense with all motions prior to the opening of a flexible online voting window. There will be a two-week voting window that will allow maximum flexibility for Governmental Members to review the material and vote at a time and place that is convenient for them.
Q. Is an online voter required to observe the associated testimony?
No. cdpACCESS will present code change information in a way that encourages participants to use all available information to inform their vote. Access to all resources, including testimony videos, will be available from the easy-to-use online system.
Q. What could be implemented to prevent block voting?
Continual bylaw adjustments have been, and will continue to be, implemented to attempt to curtail block voting.
Q. What if everyone chooses to participate remotely and no one goes to the live hearings?
cdpACCESS is about expanding access and addressing the time and money challenge of attending the live hearings – but it is not intended to replace these important events.
Our research indicates that people attend the hearings for a wide variety of reasons – networking, education, contributing their expertise, etc. As we develop cdpACCESS we will also continue to focus on preserving the value of in-person attendance of the hearings and are looking for additional ways to enhance this value, such as education credits.
Q. Why should employers and individuals spend money to send Members to the hearings if they can vote online?
ICC will continue to emphasize the benefits of attending the hearings in person, including 1) the ability to testify, 2) the opportunity to network with peers, and 3) the ability to vote on the individual motions that shape the final voting. Additionally, as part of the hearing process, participants who attend the hearings (both the Committee Action Hearing and Public Comment Hearing) could continue to earn CEUs.
Q. Does attending part of the hearings cancel my right to vote via cdpACCESS on the remaining issues after I leave?
No. Only the final vote cast is considered your official FAH vote. Once you leave the hearings you can review testimony, reconsider or change your vote, and vote on additional items.
Q. How will ICC ensure the person voting is the actual person authorized?
cdpACCESS will be designed and implemented using industry best practices for hardware and software security including many of the considerations raised in NISTIR 7770. This includes network connections using SSL/TLS, limited physical and system access, and other transactional database auditing.
Q. What measures will be taken to maintain a transparent process?
Openness and transparency are key elements of the current ICC Code Development Process. ICC will disclose the aggregate vote and maintain auditing procedures on the voting data. Final individual votes will continue to remain confidential and shall only be provided, upon request, to the applicable jurisdiction’s Primary Representative.
Q. How will ICC keep track of voting activity for both the Public Comment Hearing Vote and Governmental Consensus Vote?
ICC will maintain detailed accurate records of voting activity, validated through an independent audit committee.
Q. Will ICC announce Public Comment Hearing voting results prior to the online vote?
Q. Why are the bylaw amendments and voting for Board officers not included in the scope of the committee?
This is beyond the scope of cdpACCESS as chartered by the ICC Board.
Q. When will the online participation “count”?
The system will be tested on a small batch of code changes on the agenda for Group B PCH in Atlantic City this year and then a trial Governmental Consensus vote will take place on those same code changes, but these test votes will not be considered final. cdpACCESS will launch on November 15, 2013, in support of Group C; those votes will count.
Q. What are the initial anticipated costs of implementing cdpACCESS? What are the associated maintenance costs for the future?
ICC is in the process of assessing costs. The membership has noted the need for this tool so they can participate in the code change process in the face of time and money constraints. To that end, ICC feels that cdpACCESS is a fundamental responsibility to our Member-focused association. Ongoing maintenance costs include hosting, security audits, etc., and cannot be measured until the system is fully designed.
Q. Will the software be developed in house or by an outside vendor?
Led by the ICC Board and Steering Committee, the cdpACCESS team includes ICC leadership staff, and Members from across the globe as well as vendors selected for their expertise. Design and research is being conducted by Design Cloud, an interactive design studio, and development of the cdpACCESS platform is being led by Caxy, a custom web development company. First Consulting, Inc. is handling security design for the platform. Final code testing may be performed by another third-party vendo