Recommendations implementable in the near term that can serve as the basis for a national building policy are contained in the National Institute of Building Sciences Consultative Council’s recently released 2013 report, “Moving Forward: Findings and Recommendations From the Consultative Council.”

Each year, the Consultative Council, which consists of organizations representing the nation’s building community, prepares the report, which is submitted as part of the institute’s annual report to the president of the United States.

The 2013 report includes findings and recommendations in 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.
  • Developing the business case for private-sector investment in hazard mitigation.

Following are some of the recommendations contained in the report:

  • Industry associations should develop and support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics 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 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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 determine provisions where water and energy tradeoffs exist.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) should compile a national database of embedded energy in water and embedded water in energy, with a focus on developing regional and local estimates needed for planning.
  • The DOE, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the EPA, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development should work together and with the private sector to identify economic, social, and environmental benefits for communities that adopt and verify compliance with construction codes.
  • Federal agencies should ensure 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 adoption and compliance with up-to-date building codes.
  • Community ratings 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.
  • The National Institute of Building Sciences Multihazard Mitigation Council, with support from the public and private sectors, should update the report “Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves” to address current savings and benefits for state and local governments and the private sector.

The 2013 report also re-emphasizes recommendations from past reports, addressing topics such as building energy and water data, high-performance metrics, climate change and buildings, and performance-based codes.

To download the report, click here.