DCAT's best assessment of how well we are doing our work
is through the words of others. Please read letters of support
written by Bob
Tawse, and Anthony
Letter of support
from Bob Fowler, Chief Building Official of Pasadena, CA.
From September 13, 2000.
It was good to see you again at the ICBO Annual Business
Meeting in San Francisco this past week. As always I find
our time together both highly productive and enjoyable. In
thinking about the many subjects we discussed while we were
together, I realized that I wanted to follow them up with
a letter expressing my support for your work.
In my 33 years of involvement with building codes, I have
never seen anyone come from outside the code community and
provide more effective and authentic leadership or have a
more positive influence than you have had. And you know that
my experience in this field includes 6 years as Board Liaison
to the entire code development process, 5 years on the Fire
and Life Safety Committee as well as serving as Chairman of
the Board of ICBO in 1993/94 and Founding Chairman of the
International Code Council. So I know whereof I speak.
Those of us in the building code community and the general
public owe a large debt of gratitude for the work of the Development
Center for Appropriate Technology under your guidance. Your
work is laying the foundation for the vital but challenging
changes that are needed in building regulation. You have been
instrumental in making us aware of the larger issues and in
helping us to begin finding constructive, win/win solutions
that will remove the regulatory barriers to sustainable building.
There are few things more important or more critical at this
point in time and I would like to help ensure that it continues
and receives the support it deserves.
I'm actually writing this letter as much to those who support
your work or may be considering doing so, as to you. I want
to give you something that will help convey the essential
nature of your work and the vital need for it to continue
and expand. I am always impressed with the fact that you are
conversant and continually forging new relationships with
people and organizations across traditionally adversarial
boundaries. Your work with the conventional and green building,
design, engineering, environmental, conventional and sustainable
development, and standards communities is testament to the
integrated vision that is at the heart of DCAT's work. Your
perspective is unique, in my experience, and your contributions
are invaluable and timely for the challenges at hand.
Events of this past week demonstrated further that your leadership
and vision extend beyond issues of sustainability to encompass
the larger challenges to maintaining accountability and responsibility
for building safety and public welfare in the building regulatory
system. Your observations and response to the recent efforts
by industry-backed organizations to develop their own building
codes to compete with the International Codes typify your
constructive approach to problem solving. You recognized that
these competing codes will undermine the enormous effort and
achievements over the last seven years of the consolidation
of the three regional codes into a single, national set of
building codes. You expressed clearly your concern about substituting
a set of codes developed in an industry-dominated process
for the International Codes, which were developed in an open
public process managed by the public officials responsible
for enforcing them and protecting the public welfare.
You shared with many of the ICBO Board members, staff and
others your insights and perspective about the problems with
the industry-based "consensus" process that they
are touting as superior to the process used by the code organizations.
Your outside perspective and experience with the standards
development process helped clarify the central importance
of having building officials, not industry and others with
mainly financial interests, have the final say on what is
in the codes. Having the benefit of your unique perspective
is vital on issues such as this, and will be much appreciated
in the ongoing development of building codes and standards.
All in all, in spite of the challenges you face in the size
and complexity of the issues, the limited resources which
you have to work with, and the changes that have emerged this
year, DCAT has done a phenomenal job of elevating awareness
about the importance of this larger context of public welfare.
And further, you continue building relationships and alliances,
and bringing all these issues into view and into the main
stream of discussion. I know personally, from meetings that
I have been in and from the many people with whom I talk,
that your work is known and respected, your issues are beginning
to be understood and considered, and efforts are starting
that will lead to their being addressed. DCAT has been and
continues to be the catalyst and I am proud to be able to
play a part in this.
If any of your funders should want more information or would
like to speak with me directly, please feel free to have them
contact me at the Pasadena, California, Planning and Permitting
Department, Bob Fowler, 175 N. Garfield Avenue, Pasadena,
CA 91101, (626) 744-6808.
Bob Fowler, CBO, FAIA, PE
Chief Building Official Pasadena, California
[Note: Bob Fowler was of the nation's leading code officials,
who was working with DCAT on bringing sustainability into
the building codes. Bob's
passing leaves a void on both a personal and professional
level. Please also read Jon
Traw's tribute to Bob from the November-December 2001
issue of Building Standards.]
Letter of support
for DCAT's work to a supporting foundation by Donella Meadows,
co-author of Limits to Growth. From October 2, 2000.
I understand that David Eisenberg has a proposal before you
for his work on sustainable building and building codes. I'd
just like to put in a word an his behalf, if I may.
As you may know, I'm involved in a "green" building
project myself these days, designing and building a 22-unit
cohousing project and organic farm in Vermont. This excruciating
process (4 years and we've just broken ground) has thrown
me into the world of "green construction" in a big
way. I find it a confusing, messed-up world. Much of what
I have been told is sustainable building doesn't look at all
like that to me. Furthermore, I have had the utterly frustrating
experience of going up against codes and regulations that
actually force things to be done in an unsustainable, overly
The primary voice of sanity that has helped me through this
maze has been David's. (Starting with his imm.ortal quote,
"The road to good intentions is often paved with hell.")
Last spring I happened to see his presentation to building
code officials and found it the ONLY thing I had heard in
four years that was REALLY about sustainable building. (It
is also full of terrific slides, of buildings around the world.)
That presentation was so extraordinary that I brought David
to Vermont a few months later to give it publicly in the very
first (and so far only) presentation sponsored by my new Sustainability
Institute. He drew a goad crowd, which included (I had ensured)
my design engineers and my contractors. The evening was a
David is a little too sweet and humble to push his own case
as much as he should. He's doing the best work in the field.
I know of NO ONE else who is seriously considering how 6+
billion people in this world can be properly housed. NO ONE
else I knom is seeing that sustainability starts with material
in the earth and ends with that material returning to the
earth in a harmless form. (Believe it or not, "green"
builders see nothing wrong witn PVC or oriented strandboard.
They don't even think to ask what things are made of!) And
in going for the codes, David is going to the heart of the
I hope you can support his work and see his slide show.
[Note: Dana Meadows was the voice of human conscience and
speaker for sustainability, right up to her death in February
of 2001. Her ability to communicate to all was demonstrated
in every Global
Citizen column she wrote.]
Letter of support from
Jon Traw, former CEO of the International Conference of Code
Officials. From November 13, 2000.
The purpose of this letter is to reiterate ICBO's committment
to the principles of sustainability and to working with the
Development Center for Appropriate Technology in the effort
to address those principles in the building code. As we have
indicated in the past, we recognize that these issues are
ultimately as important as any of the other aspects of the
building code and the challenge lies in developing a way to
facilitate the needed changes.
As an initial step, parallel to your efforts to raise awareness
about the reasons these changes are needed, we have been attempting
to bring these issues to the forefront through the various
features and articles in our magazine, Building Standards,
and through our website where they appear in Building Standards
Online. We have received a great deal of positive feedback
from our readers and members for providing this kind of information
and there is a growing interest and demand for it as people
wake to the importance of addressing the environmental impacts
of building. Our bookstore, which provides resource materials
for our members, has also expanded its offerings in the areas
of alternative materials and methods of construction in another
effort to support building officials who are dealing with
these building systems in the field.
We are also happy to be assisting in your effort to develop
a comprehensive survey to identify the regulatory and code-related
barriers to more sustainable building and development practices.
This should both speed the process of creating needed changes
in the codes and gain the involvement and participation of
many more knowledgeable people in the code-development and
code-change process. We appreciate DCAT's leadership in this
Additionally, as you know, we sponsored an International
Forum at our Annual Business Meeting and Conference in San
Francisco at which many of these issues were discussed. We
have come to recognize that we have a responsibility as world
leaders in building design, technology, and regulation, to
attend to the whole range of consequences of our buildings
to the extent that we are able to understand and address them.
This includes the appropriateness of building technology as
it is transferred to different locations either in the U.S.
or abroad. I know you are also familiar with the efforts of
Rick Okawa, Director of our International Evaluation Service
program and who is very much aware of these issues and supportive
of the goals that we share in trying to make the built environment
We continue to be fully supportive and committed to making
this change a reality and to working with DCAT to develop
strategies to accomplish these goals. We look forward to continuing
to develop our relationship and to cooperatively seek win-win
solutions to these problems. We appreciate the positive and
collaborative approach that you have taken and your ongoing
committment to finding the most effective means to facilitate
change. We welcome the opportunities to partner with DCAT
and other organizations to achieve these crucial goals.
President and CEO
Letter of support
from Clint Tawse, retired building official of Pueblo, CO.
From March 12, 1998.
Seems like August 1995 was a long while back, but then I
look at where we have come in that 2 1/2 year span and it's
almost mind boggling to me. Who would have thought back then
that your presentation to a group of Colorado Building Officials
would have the ripple effect it created. Not I. Never in my
mind did I foresee the energy that has come to be not just
in Colorado but across the Nation.
The responsibility for this ground swell and change lies
at your feet alone. Oh some of us may have allowed you a place
to tell of your concerns but it is solely through your actions
and total commitment that has seen this change fall into place.
A long way from Pueblo to the halls of the ICBO ABM in Phoenix,
Arizona where you spoke to a crowd of National Building Officials.
Most importantly, they listened. They were captivated by your
works and your challenge to them. Then the highly successful
Summit on Sustainable Building Codes in Hesperia, California.
A giant step toward change engineered by yourself. I commend
you, my friend, for where you have taken us. You have achieved
what no one would have thought possible back in August of
1995. The benefactors of your efforts, our grandchildren and
generations to come.
Clinton H. Tawse, Building Official
Pueblo Regional Building Department
Letter of support from
Anthony Floyd, former Building Official and current head of
the green building program in Scottsdale, AZ. From November
Dear Mr. Eisenberg:
As an architect and former building official, I have a concern
for safe, healthy, and optimal performance buildings. As current
manager for Scottsdale's Green Building Program, I have a
greater concern for environmentally responsible and sustainable
building practices. It is critical for building codes and
standards to begin to address these issues.
The International Code Council and its code development process
is the vehicle to help move building codes toward sustainable
building applications. The building material and products
industry serves in the interest of market proliferation within
the current life safety context of the code. As environmental
responsibility becomes a greater concern, there will be greater
conflicts with materials and methods of construction. DCAT
has begun the initiative to address these issues outside the
market interest of proprietary materials and equipment.
My recent code change proposal is a great example of the
action DCAT is taking to help achieve a better balance in
the code development process. Your testimonial support helped
to achieve a unanimously vote in favor of Scottsdale's proposed
code change for passive solar heating. There have been many
related issues in the past that has failed because of the
lack of input from a sustainable and environmentally responsible
I highly commend the work of DCAT and look forward to future
collaboration in our effort to build sustainability into the
Anthony Floyd, AIA, CBO
Sustainable Building Manager
City of Scottsdale Green Building Program