OK, to be honest, I lost count at 2,717 and started estimating after that. I’m referring to the pages of Code, Design Specifications and Regulations in some of the more commonly used manuals in this development community. Most of us use them daily or have heard of them: EL Paso County Land development Code, City/County Drainage Criteria Manual, Regional Building Code, Colorado Springs Utilities Service Standards, and the list goes on and on. I’m not here to debate the need for these regulations, or if there are too few (never the case), or too many (always the case), but instead the effort the HBA goes to ensure that these regulations don’t negatively impact the building and development industry.
Currently, the Colorado Springs Housing and Building Association has several active committees that help to oversee these documents: Land Use, Utilities, Utilities Working Group, Code, and Public Policy. Based on our organization’s positive and healthy relationship with the jurisdictions that control these documents, we are fortunate to be invited to participate in discussions about revisions and additions. As everyone knows, the best intentions sometimes have unintended consequences. A proposal to require a new widget may make sense for the person making the recommendation, but if that widget is not readily available, or costs four times the amount of the currently approve widget (that functions well), a debate needs to occur. Even a misplaced comma can create a different intent than what was envisioned by the preparer. The HBA’s critique is valuable in providing a balanced view of regulatory impacts and benefits, and without membership participation, this effort would not be nearly as successful as it has been. As municipalities embark on streamlining efforts and looking at ways to unencumber the building and development process, industry participation is paramount.
Several efforts are currently underway including an effort to streamline the El Paso County Land Development Code juggernaut, a total update of the City/County Drainage Criteria Manual and yearly updates of various other documents. No one person can possibly understand and keep abreast of all of the various components of these manuals so the process to review and clearly understand the benefits or impacts of the proposed changes is of supreme importance.
It’s important to thank every member who has participated in the past and given selflessly of their time to protect the building industry in the less than glamorous task of reading a lot of pages of material. Review of these manuals is daunting and requires special focus and consideration of many factors. Implementation schedule, cost, scheduling impact and correlation with other jurisdictional requirements are just a few of the peripheral questions that must be considered during review. Please stay committed.
Please consider making a continuing resolution to seek out and commit to participating in any of the various HBA committees that exist to benefit membership and the industry. Your individual experience and expertise is vital in maintaining a healthy and positive building environment in our community.
HBA President, 2011
Original Publication in The HOMEFRONT, February 2011