West / Regional Reports

Alliance To Hold Task Force Meeting In Silicon Valley

February 23, 2002
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SAN JOSE, CA — To help state and local jurisdictions and the nation’s construction industry to more effectively compete in the global economy, the Technology Task Force of the National Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age will visit here next month to study the region’s highly successful efforts to streamline its building regulatory processes using information technology.

The City of San Jose and several neighboring jurisdictions will host the Alliance’s Technology Task Force March 18-19.

Established last fall as one of several action items from the May 30-June 1 National Forum on Building Smarter in the Digital Age, the Task Force is charged with assembling, developing, and demonstrating a set of tools that jurisdictions and the construction industry can use to increase the effective use of information technology in the building regulatory process.

The March meeting in San Jose will be the Task Force’s third work session. At previous work sessions held in October and December 2001, the Technology Task Force established its action agenda items for 2002 and received presentations on interoperable hardware and software currently available in the U.S. and overseas.

On Feb. 26, the Technology Task Force is scheduled to unveil on its website (www.ncsbcs.org) the first of several work deliverables — a preliminary listing of hardware and software currently available to jurisdictions for use in their building design and construction review processes.

At the March meeting here, the Task Force is scheduled to review several successful products of the Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Initiative. Ten years ago, the Silicon Valley Initiative formed from a collaborative effort among neighboring jurisdictions to enhance that region’s competitiveness in the global economy by streamlining the building regulatory process using information technology. Some of the streamlined processes that the Task Force will review are:

  • Online building permitting;
  • Online building plans reviews;
  • One-stop permitting; and
  • The use of PDA’s for field audits of construction projects.
The Task Force also will hold a work session on several of its deliverables for 2002. Among those deliverables are:
  • The collection and dissemination of an inventory of information technology currently available to jurisdictions and the construction industry.
  • The distribution of models of best practices of effective uses of information technology to streamline the building regulatory process.
  • The creation for jurisdictions of a minimum set of criteria for hardware and software that should be asked for when obtaining or implementing new information systems.
In response to the events of Sept. 11 and at the direction of the National Alliance’s Steering Committee, the Technology Task Force is also developing a prototype of a proposed secure nationwide state-administered database of the designs and evacuation plans for critical structures.

An update progress report on the activities of the 27-member National Alliance will be issued to the nation’s governors and all Alliance members during the upcoming Winter Meeting of the National Governors Association.

BACKGROUND

The National Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age is a public and private sector coalition of 27 organizations and governmental agencies formed in the summer of 2001 to work together to use information technology to strengthened the nation’s economy by transforming the nation’s building regulatory process to enable the construction industry to build “faster, better, safer, and at less cost.”

The three immediate goals of the Alliance are:

  • Re-stimulate a vital sector of the U.S. economy by using information technology to eliminate regulatory barriers and time delays to the construction process.
  • Through regulatory reform, increase the availability to the public and private sectors of affordable, safe, and durable residential, commercial, institutional, governmental, and industrial buildings.
  • Support enhanced homeland security and public safety in the built environment through innovative uses of information technology in the construction and building regulatory processes.
The Alliance is supported by in-kind services and grants from Alliance members, which include the National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Institute of Building Sciences.

For more information on the Alliance, visit www.ncsbcs.org.

Publication date: 02/25/2002

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