Access to information is a critical component to achieving successful compliance. Given the diversity of the building code community, execution of strategic outreach campaigns can improve understanding of code changes, create buy‐in, and can lead to greater levels of compliance.
Energy codes are constantly under revision to improve their clarity and stringency. Code changes affect many groups, including builders, designers, developers, and enforcement officials – all of whom are responsible for implementing code language and ensuring that code requirements are met. Product manufacturers and suppliers—which need time to clear current inventories and update their products to achieve compliance—are also affected. This diversity within the building community can present a major barrier to the diffusion of new technologies and practices. Proper communication between these groups can facilitate an increase in compliance.
Publishing information provides a means for stakeholders to become educated and participate in discussions and decision-making. Given the diversity of the building code community, there are several outreach methods available that seek to more effectively educate and provide access to the building code. The most successful campaigns reach stakeholders in a sequenced and consistent manner. This approach creates an indirect benefit for the enforcement community by enhancing compliance.
State Energy Offices and building code departments can harness the power of effective outreach channels to produce more communication, and as a result, capture the full benefits of the energy code. The critical element of effective outreach strategies lies in the design and execution of campaigns that coordinate the many channels available to reach prospective building energy code end users. This requires strategic and tactical planning.
When several channels for outreach are provided, the effectiveness of campaigns is increased, thus increasing compliance. The challenge is to select an affordable outreach medium that is effective and allows for the broadest possible dissemination to key audiences. In BCAP’s 2008 Residential Building Energy Codes - Compliance and Enforcement study, BCAP highlights effective outreach strategies. The survey examined several outreach methods. Building code officials surveyed by BCAP indicated that the most effective outreach strategies included Resource Materials, Information Technology (websites), and Presentations.