For this week’s Guest Post Friday, Musings welcomes Imad Naffa. Imad is the Founder and President of NAFFA International, a private Building Code Consulting Services company in Fresno, CA. He is also the Developer and Administrator of the Building Code Discussions Group (BCDG), one of the largest building code online communities on the internet with 19,000+ members from 100+ countries.
You can also find him on the web where he runs a blog that deals with Building, Fire and Accessibility /ADA codes along with news affecting the Design, Construction, Real Estate, LEED/Green and Code Enforcement Communities.
I used to pride myself on being able to keep up with the latest developments in the building codes, construction and related disciplines. But lately, I have been inundated with so much information that I struggle to keep up!
Maybe I brought all this on myself by being “over connected” on so many levels and platforms (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Google News, our company’s websites, the BCDG, etc).
Every day it seems there are new building codes, new standards and new legislation affecting the design, construction and code enforcement sectors. I’m afraid the average designer, architect, builder and code official will not be able to keep up, and who can blame them? New terms are taking center stage, especially in Social Media. LEED and Green topics are leading the way these days. It seems everyone wants to have “LEED AP” after their name or having projects that are LEED certified! Somehow the word is out that Green is in and you’d better be ready. Now new Green building codes are coming out or planned for the near future on the local, state and federal levels.
Buzz words of yesterday in my field were: Life-safety, means of egress, accessibility and fire-resistive construction. Today, all I hear is Green, LEED, sustainable, renewable!
I’m often asked how designers, builders, code officials and anyone with related fields are expected to keep track of the so many ever-changing codes and standards, along with added legislation that affects design, construction and code enforcement sectors. If I had to sum it in one word, it would be Leverage!
There are simply too many codes to keep track of! Too many standards! Too many regulations! In the old days, we had books and folders and 3-ring binders. Today, those references alone simply would not cut it. It’s too slow, too archaic. Relying on the expertise available only within your office may not cut muster with so much information available beyond our circle of influence.
In today’s design, construction and code enforcement offices, the right technology and platforms must be some of the components in our arsenal. By leverage, I mean having a trusted, experienced, proactive and technology-savvy professional(s) on your side that you can consult with and bounce off ideas. Having multiple online resources, that you are comfortable using (such as News Feeds, FB, Twitter, Technical Forums geared towards your specialty (for me, it’s the BCDG) and other Social Media platforms); ready to provide you with targeted, fast and efficient stream of information and second opinions in becoming more and more a must to stay current.
Especially in this state of the economy, in order to stay competitive and relevant, you are expected to know about many technical topics and be able to search for the information fast and efficiently. The days of specializing in only one area are slowly ending.
The future will demand what I call “utility” engineers, architects, builders, plan examiners and inspectors that are trained in more than one discipline and that are able to locate relevant information and solutions fast and efficiently. The ones that are able to combine on-going training, experience with technology will stay competitive, relevant and in demand as the economy turns around and jurisdictions and companies retool.
A resource, like Twitter for example, can be used in a business setting to stay on top of the latest developments and news in a particular specialty. There are numerous movers and shakers that are supplying timely information about construction, design, legal aspects dealing with construction and design, and no shortage of great posters for LEED and Green topics. In my course of posting on Twitter, and after sifting through thousands of potential posters, I frequently mention and “Re-Tweet” some of my favorite people providing excellent stream of information in related fields. So stay tuned for my daily posts!
Builders, Attorneys, Architects, Code Officials, Real Estate and Sustainability/Green experts are all tied together and can learn from each other. Some of the Social Media and other online platforms are making this possible more than ever.
I have found dozens of individuals providing quality and timely information that I’m seeking in my fields or interest. Following them is a part of my journey and I consider powerful Continuing Education that allows me to meet the brightest minds in the business from throughout the world.
Do what you have to and stay on top of your game and don’t be left out!