Order in Chaos

March 26, 2020

My hat is off to the building departments in our jurisdiction for rolling out COVID-19 operational plans. (View the plans we’ve received on our website). The Allen County Building Commissioner John Caywood and his assistant, George Smith, used the foresight from former Building Commissioner Dave Fuller to plan, develop, and work with technology long before this pandemic came about. These efforts have made permitting, inspections and instant access much more accessible. These operational plans allow building departments to continue business as usual (almost). But, I’d like to note, it is key for everyone to do their part with social distancing – one crew/trade on a job site at a time. Help reduce the spreading of this virus!

Now for some good news! The 2020 Indiana Residential Code is available! You can view it for free here or order a copy online by visiting the ICC webpage.

John and George have been meeting with other building departments around the state to help present and promote a uniform approach to enforcing the new code across Northeast Indiana. Commissioner Caywood and his team are reviewing the book and creating a “cheat sheet” so all affected industry personnel can quickly review the changes.

Since the code was adopted in December 2019, the HBA, IBA and Building Departments have held numerous educational seminars on the subject. The Allen County Building Department will announce additional seminars once they have finished reviewing the Indiana Code. Be on the lookout for one on wall bracing in the near future.

Of those upcoming seminars will be one on the result of the changes in energy code. We understand there are numerous questions. Please review the linked document for those changes and reach out to your energy rater to make sure the home is being built in compliance with the new energy code.

The big question is how is the new code being enforced? What about contracts that have been signed between the contractor and homeowner since the code came in to effect? These questions and more can be answered by calling, emailing or stopping into the department office. Originally the department was going to move from “warning” mode to “enforcement” mode on June 1st. However, with the pandemic sweeping our nation and the world, that date is subject to change.

Many states, including Indiana, are now under a “Stay At Home” executive order. Most states that have issued this order include residential construction in this list. However, remember to do your part and stage one trade on a site at a time. If your company has the ability to allow staff to work from home, do it! Keep person-to-person contact at a minimum.

In closing, I’d just like to remind everyone that we survived the recession in 2008, which was worse than the Great Depression. Yes, we have a challenging year ahead of us. It’s on all of us to lead, be the rock, and show a positive attitude to our team members and partners. We will get through this. Finally, please pray for a cure to this virus, those infected, and for all that are scared or feeling the pressure of the actions that have been taken on their businesses and families.

Be safe. Be healthy. Be the leader.

Matt Momper
HBA of Fort Wayne Codes Chairman

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