ICC 2018 Year In Review

The International Code Council’s program year is coming to an end. The annual conference in October is a celebration of all we’ve accomplished together over the past year. It also marks the end of our current Board of Directors and the beginning of new leadership.

Normally around this time we send out the ICC Annual Report with an in-depth overview of our recent accomplishments and major initiatives. This year, we’re adjusting our timetable a bit. In 2019, we will be releasing a revamped annual report with a new look that presents information in an easy-to-read, visual format. The report will line up with the Code Council’s fiscal year. In the meantime, we want to update you on the successes of the past year.

The Code Council is a leader in the codes and standards community thanks to your passion and dedication. We continue to be at the forefront of building safety discussions globally, and the International Codes are the most widely used and adopted set of building safety codes in the world.

2018 marks our 15th anniversary as an international association, but we have over 100 years of experience in the industry from our legacy organizations. The Code Council Family of Companies provides a wide range of products and services around one central mission – to provide the highest quality codes, standards, products and services for all concerned with the safety and performance of the built environment.

The financial health of the association is very strong. We expect revenue from the sale of goods and services to exceed our budget revenue and operating profit targets in 2018. Unfortunately, piracy of the Code Council’s intellectual property is rising as a serious problem and has had a negative impact. We are working to counteract these effects through diligent attention and advocacy against these illegal activities.

Despite challenges, our continued excellent financial performance has allowed us to build cash reserves, maintain a robust package of member benefits, and provide a range of improved and expanded programs.

Some of the key accomplishments from the past year:

We launched the Proctored Remote Online Testing Option for certification exams in August 2017. With more than 70 exams currently available, PRONTO gives candidates easy access to testing, allowing them to take their exam at any secure location 24/7.
We greatly expanded Safety 2.0, our signature initiative to welcome the next generation of members and leaders to the building safety profession. We launched a new program to reach military veterans and their family members and expanded our technical training programs. We also launched a package of resources to promote the value of the code official.
The code development process for the 2021 I-Codes began in January. During the Committee Action Hearings in the spring, we considered 1,250 proposed code changes. The hearings were split into 2 tracks totaling 145 hours over 9 days.
The ICC Board of Directors established an ad hoc committee to comprehensively explore and assess building safety and security. The committee will develop tools to guide local and state leaders as they work to protect all building occupants, including children and teachers in schools, from intruders and other life-safety hazards.
The Board also created the ICC Ad Hoc Committee on Disaster Assessment to develop a new Disaster Response Network in partnership with the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations. Armed with a state-of-the-art database and the latest training resources, this alliance will connect skilled volunteers with jurisdictions needing extra support in times of need.
In June 2017, we acquired S.K. Ghosh Associates, which provides seismic and code-related consulting services. Then in November 2017, we acquired General Code, a market leader in codification and content management solutions.
The International Accreditation Service, an ICC subsidiary and leading accreditation body, selected a new president, Raj Nathan.
The ICC Evaluation Service, which performs technical evaluations of building products, expanded its scope of accreditation in Canada for building product certification.
ICC’s resilience subsidiary the Alliance for National & Community Resilience began development of the U.S.’s first whole-community resilience benchmarks. These benchmarks provide communities with a transparent, practical and commonsense self-assessment to quickly and easily gauge their cross-sector resilience efforts.
Everything we do at the Code Council reflects our commitment to our members, stakeholders and the building safety community. We couldn’t have done any of this without your support and commitment to the mission. The work you do makes our buildings safer and our communities more resilient. Together we are making the world a better place.

2019 is just around the corner, and we look forward to continuing this important work in the months and years to come.

Regards,

 

Jay Elbettar, P.E., CBO, LEED AP, CASp
President
ICC Board of Directors

 

Dominic Sims, CBO
Chief Executive Officer
International Code Council
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Connecticut Supreme Court Upholds Bridgeport’s Liability in Fire That Killed 4

Connecticut Supreme Court Upholds Bridgeport’s Liability in Fire That Killed 4

The state’s high court upholds the Appellate Court and says a jury could have found that Bridgeport was liable for the deaths of a mother and her three young children in an apartment fire.

By Robert Storace | December 18, 2017 at 01:34 PM

The city of Bridgeport and its fire department cannot escape trial over their alleged liability in a fire that killed a woman and her three children by failing to inspect their apartment’s smoke detectors, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Monday.

In a 4-2 decision, the state’s high court agreed with the Connecticut Appellate Court that a jury could reasonably find the Bridgeport Fire Department’s conduct demonstrated “a reckless disregard for health or safety under all the relevant circumstances.”

The Appellate Court ruling reversed a Superior Court’s summary judgment order for the defendants, which found the city and fire department were immune from liability under Connecticut’s General Statute 52-557n. The case will be remanded back to Bridgeport Superior Court for trial next year.

Attorneys for the family’s estate said the ruling was not a surprise.

“The decision clarifies the city’s inaction in inspecting multifamily residences,” said John Bochanis, partner with Daly, Weihing & Bochanis in Bridgeport. “This decision protects the public at large by enforcing the municipal obligation that they have to annually inspect residences with three families or more.”

The city never conducted annual fire inspections at the P.T. Barnum complex as required by state statute, Bochanis said.

No one from the Bridgeport Housing Authority responded to a request for comment Monday.

According to Monday’s decision, the fire chief said in deposition that the department didn’t have the proper funding to keep up with inspections.

The estate is seeking monetary damages as it awaits a trial next year. Bochanis declined to say how much the estate is seeking.

The family was killed in the city’s largest public housing complex. The high court wrote that the estate of the family alleged the fire department “failed to conduct a statutorily required annual fire safety inspection of the apartment and that the defendants knew or should have known about and remedied a number of asserted defects in the apartment, including the absence of fire escapes and photoelectric smoke detectors.”

According to the Connecticut Post, one lawsuit was dropped against the city after the Bridgeport Housing Authority and the contractor, Worth Construction Co. of Bethel, agreed to a $2.75 million settlement. At the time in 2013, the judge ordered Worth to pay the settlement, according to the Post.

Bochanis declined to discuss the settlement, but said it does not affect the decision by the high court to remand the case back to Bridgeport Superior Court for a trial in 2018.

The high court singled out both lower courts for improperly articulating the standard that governs the reckless-disregard exception to municipality immunity.

Writing for the majority, Justice Carmen Espinosa wrote that a jury “reasonably could find that the defendants’ persistent failure to inspect the decedents’ apartments and thousands of other multifamily units in Bridgeport in violation of their statutory duty … arose from and exemplified a pattern of reckless disregard for public health or safety and created a foreseeable and substantial risk that some tragedy of this general sort would occur, and accordingly, the defendants were not entitled to summary judgment on that issue.”

In writing the dissent, Justice Andrew McDonald said, “The trial court properly concluded that the municipal defendants were shielded from liability under 52-557n (b) (8) for failure to inspect the subject premises.” McDonald, who was joined by Justice Richard Palmer, wrote that the “principal flaws” in the analysis of the majority include failing to sufficiently distinguish reckless disregard from negligence and failing to recognize that the burden of preventing the risk of harm is an essential element of recklessness.

Attorney Daniel Krisch of Halloran & Sage represents the city of Bridgeport. He said Monday that the city is “disappointed in the decision. We think it expands municipal liability well beyond what the Legislature intended and we are considering our options. The only real option is a motion for reconsideration, which we are considering.”

Joining Espinosa in the majority were Chief Justice Chase Rogers and Justices Dennis Eveleigh and Christine Vertefeuille.

Partner Thomas Weihing is assisting Bochanis.