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Building Official Benefits 

Code officials are in a uniquely difficult situation. Imagine if you will a building department in the year 2013. All such departments have been “downsized” due to the unfortunate downturn in construction. The staff is so small; everyone is working to 115 percent capacity as it is. Suddenly and without warning construction begins to pick up. Does this lack of staff liberate you from your sworn duty to protect the public? No it doesn’t. Obviously, you want to do an exceptional job or you would not be reading this.

So, there you are with half the staff you had back in 2006 and a rapidly increasing workload. Your employees are stressed; your customers (the public) begin to be discontent. Citizens complain to their elected officials — your bosses. Elected officials then put pressure on you, raising your stress level.  What can possibly help? The Uniform Evaluation Service exists to assist you in leveraging departmental resources. 

On the other hand, imagine if your jurisdiction was just a stick in the mud and didn’t allow building innovation because there isn’t enough staff available. Where would the new construction go? 

Question: How can the UES help Building Departments?   
• A Uniform Evaluation Report provides condensed information: A quick review of the UER briefs the code official for upcoming discussions before they happen. This allows a great exchange of ideas between the building professionals and the jurisdiction.
• A Uniform Evaluation Report provides convenience: The code official only has to look in one place to find all relevant test data summarized. Unlike a listing, a Uniform Evaluation Report addresses all the requirements for code acceptance, even in different codes or standards.  
• A Uniform Evaluation Report allows leveraging of resources: Let us assume that each Evaluation Report has about one week of engineering hours. Imagine if your staff had to spend 40 or more hours reviewing test reports on each innovative product. Some years might see 300 new products introduced to the market place. Each department would require 10 fold employees to do the work.  Evaluating just 100 new products, at 40 hours each, requires almost two additional employees at a cost of perhaps $100,000. It could be argued that each department using Uniform Evaluation Service frees two staff members to do other important work. Using UES can enhance a customer’s counter experience and satisfaction.
• Provides a tool to simplify permit issuance
• The Uniform Evaluation Service strives for excellent customer service. Give us a call and we are confident you will be pleased.

Question: Why Recognize Uniform Evaluation Reports – Aren’t you guys just plumbers?
True, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials is the parent organization of the Uniform Evaluation Service who issues Uniform Evaluation Reports. Plumbers, yes, but we are also much more.  Remember that IAPMO also issues the Uniform Mechanical Code. As a code official, you often rely on your mechanical inspector to look over all the systems the other inspectors won’t do —- for instance, grease hood duct systems, and shafts and dampers. Shafts and dampers are integral to the safe operation of all buildings required to maintain specific floor-to-floor fire separation. Floor-to-floor fire separation allows the existing concepts to function, protects life and property. With this much responsibility, expanding into the building component arena is a natural fit for IAPMO. Industry asked us to enter the building component arena about five years ago to provide an option to the industry stakeholders.

Here is some history on Evaluation Reports in the United States: 

Pre 1990
Codes were regionally

ICC to 2007
Three code groups merged
to form ICC

Post 2007
IAPMO’s Uniform ES
enters market

 Evaluation Reports  Evaluation Reports  Evaluation Reports

 BOCA Building Officials and
 Code Administrators
 – (Northern US)

 ICBO International Council of
 Building Officials (Western US)
   IAPMO’s Uniform-ES
 NES National Evaluation Service
 Nation Wide
 SBCCI Southern Building Code
 Congress International
 (Southern US)

IAPMO brings excellent qualifications to the table:
• 75 years of product certification
• 85 years of code development
• Trusted by code officials, architects, engineers

Uniform Evaluation Reports (UER) and Evaluation Criteria (EC) are predicated on:
• Referenced code requirements and or acceptance criteria
• Technical data evaluation
• QA system evaluation
• Use of recognized laboratories

Evaluation of technical data
• Prepared by registered design professionals or recognized laboratories
• Reviewed by registered design professionals
• Comments resolved
• Recommendation to staff/committee
• ES Technical Director review and recommendation to committee
• Technical committee approves
• Annual re-examination

Evaluation of QA system
• Initial audit
• Surveillance audits
• Continuous compliance
• Ensures consistency of production

Laboratory recognition
• ISO/IEC 17025-ILAC-R&T recognition
• Test equipment
• Calibrations practices
• Staff qualifications
• Documentation
• Record keeping
• Reporting practices
• Ensures quality test reports

Question:  Are you as qualified as the Other Guys?
• Here is a quick tabulation of current qualifications

 Uniform ES

 Other Guys

 ISO Guide 17065 Compliant by American National Standards Institute (ANSI)  ISO Guide 17065 Compliant by American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
 Section 1703 Compliant  Section 1703 Compliant
 Utilize Outside Experts - PEs  Large Internal Staff - PEs
 Internal PE and External PE Reviews  Multiple Internal Reviews

Hence, Equivalent

Lately some have been making a fuss about 2015 IBC Section 1703. The following is a summary of the code requirements and how IAPMO’s Uniform ES satisfies them: 

1703.1.1 Independence - Requires: 
• objective, competent and independent
• disclose possible conflicts of interest

IAPMO qualifies because it is objective, competent and independent. Further, conflicts of interests are disclosed

1703.1.2 Equipment:
• Equipment Adequate and Calibrated

IAPMO qualifies because it actually has an in-house ISO 17025 certified test lab. To be used as substantiating data, third party labs must also be ISO 17025 certified.

Here is SEAOC’s opinion

 Title:  An Evaluation of Current Practices Related to the Development and Implementation of Acceptance Criteria and Product Evaluation Reports
                                                                                 Mark A. Moore, Chair
                                                                                 SEAOC Evaluation Reports Committee

Page 1:  “…. Furthermore, while ICC-ES and IAPMO ES are the prominent ER Providers, there are several other organizations that provide reports.

• Evaluation Criteria
   - Will use existing criteria where possible — avoid costs associated with re-inventing the wheel
   - Evaluation Criteria for Public Comment — allow public input to reach a good solution
   - Policy and Procedures — Discuss the criteria meeting how it works. Comments collected. Use the SOP

• Minimum QA Requirements
   - Show the inspection list — we don’t require you to give us a copy of your quality manual.

• Complaint Procedure — exists should you need one.
  - Assures
     • Performance
     • Consistency
     • Reusable Specification
     • Level Playing Field for Growth

• Plan Review Services also available for Building Departments
- Use noted experts to review plans and provide solutions — when your staff is too busy we can help with the overload