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Building agency stresses STEM-wise workforce, code compliance in report to Congress

Source: National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), Washington, D.C.

The NIBS 2013 report, Moving Forward: Findings and Recommendations from the Consultive Council, spans five key areas: The Building Workforce; Guidance on the Use of Non-Potable Water; Understanding the Energy/Water Nexus; Supporting the Existing State and Local Building Regulatory Infrastructure; and, Developing the Business Case for Private Sector Investment in Hazard Mitigation. Among recommendations in the eight-page document:

  • Industry associations should develop and support Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education programs to prepare students for careers in the 21st century building industry;
  • The U.S. Departments of Labor and Education, in consultation with building industry representatives and other construction community stakeholders, should develop a comprehensive national workforce plan;
  • The Environmental Protection Agency should set uniform national water quality criteria for end uses of non-potable water;
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology should develop water and energy industry-accepted evaluation, measurement and verification protocols that standards developers can utilize to help make determinations on provisions where water and energy tradeoffs exist;
  • The Department of Energy (DOE) should compile a national database of embedded energy in water, and vice versa, with a focus on developing regional and local estimates needed for planning purposes;
  • DOE and EPA, along with the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Administration; Department of Commerce, including the Economic Development Administration; and, Department of Housing and Urban Development should work together, and with the private sector, to identify economic, social and environmental benefits to communities that adopt and verify compliance with construction codes;
  • All federal agencies should ensure that any grants they give to states and localities in support of community development, resilience, housing, planning, transportation, and related functions include prerequisites or other requirements focused on current building code adoption and compliance;
  • Community ratings conducted for various purposes should be integrated and expanded to include development of communitywide resilience ratings that can be used to identify best practices; assist in awarding federal and state grants; and support private-sector decision making, including insurance underwriting and financial investments; and,
  • The NIBS Multihazard Mitigation Council, with support from the public and private sectors, should update the Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves report to address current savings and benefits that accrue to state and local governments and the private sector.

 

Moving Forward was released during a late-May High Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition, and becomes part of NBIS annual report to the White House. Copies can be obtained here.