CODE ENFORCEMENT EARNS EXEMPLARY RATING FOR COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS
Charlotte, N.C. Mecklenburg County has again received a Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) Class 1 rating by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, for its commercial and industrial buildings.
The Class 1 rating applies to any new building that received a Certificate of Occupancy on or after Jan. 1, 2007.
BCEGS assesses community building codes and how those codes are enforced, with an emphasis on mitigating losses from natural hazards. The grading schedule is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 embodying exemplary commitment to building-code enforcement. ISO's evaluation is based on a variety of criteria, including employee training and certification, staff levels, and the code adoption cycle. Use of the ISO grading schedule is widespread but not intended to determine compliance with state or local law.
ISO audits began in Mecklenburg County in 1992. The County's initial grade for commercial code enforcement was a 4. Since then, the ISO assessment has steadily improved. The County earned a 3 in 1997. In 1999 and 2000, Code Enforcement addressed several key issues and developed a 14-point strategy for departmental improvement. As a result of those efforts, the County earned a grade of 1 in 2003 making the County the largest authority in the United States with that grade.
"Our department has benefited significantly from participation in the ISO BCEGS program," says James N. Bartl, AIA, the County's Code Enforcement director. "While we have always believed we have exceptional code enforcement officials, over the years the ISO grading process has sharpened our focus on qualifications and training. As a result, today we are far more deliberate in our hiring and promotion process, critically evaluating candidates for the line, and, perhaps more so, for leadership positions."
ISO is an international standard-setting body with representatives from various national standards organizations. The organization's guiding principle is that government with well-enforced codes that are up to date will suffer fewer losses, and insurance rates will be lower. Less catastrophe-based damage and lower insurance rates offer communities incentive to enforce codes well.