Retrofit: Lessons Learned from Working with Codes- and Standard-setting Groups

ERA Associate Executive Director, Ellen Thorp has published an article in Retrofit discussing the importance of being involved in the process of developing building codes and standards. Below is an excerpt from the article

“Here are the principles we now follow to ensure that our members’ voices are heard before many important industry groups :

1. Deal in science and research-based facts, and share them in a readily accessible format. ERA hired a third-party researcher to prepare a straightforward, four-page document that we provided to regulators in all the OTC states. This document was localized for each state to explain how the climate of southern California and the climate of the state in question were different. We also tailored the document to provide a general overview of the roofing construction economic climate in each state, and explain how jobs would be affected if the regulations were implemented immediately.

2. Use social media and your website to inform the community about pending actions and your activities relating to upcoming regulatory and code-setting events. The ERA website became the go-to source to update the industry as VOC regulations and implementation deadlines were updated and revised. Since then, we have used our blog to update readers about our activities before standard-setting and code-setting groups.

3. Do your homework on the positions of other influential organizations in the construction business to know who your potential allies might be. Depending on the challenge faced in any individual code or regulatory hearing, alliances will shift. Know, in advance, who is likely to support your position, and work with them to reinforce each others’ activities.

4. Likewise, study the opposition and look to the science you have generated to be able to rebut their arguments.

5. Understand your audience. For instance, state regulators frequently are the targets of activist groups, who may take legal action against the states for not doing enough. The regulators will welcome your scientific data to help them in their decision-making and also to defend against potential lawsuits. Likewise, code officials will need to generate information that contractors, builders, and owners can understand and follow. Equally as important, codes should be straightforward enough so that officials can enforce them.”

Click here to access the full article