Disaster by Deceit

The time has come for a new sheriff in town.

Yet again, the International Code Council (ICC) has placed special interests over those it is sworn to serve. 

After countless hours—over months of work performed by its own development committees and despite the recommendations of its own appeals board, as well as in the face of direct urging from members of the U.S. Congress—the ICC Board of Directors caved to pressures from the gas industry, and certain trade groups in the products sector, to remove critical climate-friendly rules from the newest building guidelines commonly used across the country.

disaster by deceit

Any remaining claims of integrity and transparency that the council may have held onto were flushed down the drain on March 20, 2024, when the organization’s Board of Directors essentially dumped the work that had been performed by expert committee members and its own staff, which would have resulted in requirements in new residential construction providing pathways to decarbonization and immense long-term cost savings.  

It is not the first time they have forsaken the high ground of public trust in order to serve the needs of one or more of their founding member organizations.

The fossil fuels industry has greenwashed the issue with claims that natural gas is the “clean” alternative to its other climate-destroying products. Those declarations have perhaps never been more effectively debunked than in this opinion piece by Senator Edward Markey, Chair of the Senate Climate Change Task Force.

While the ICC is thwarting progress toward a climate-friendly future, many in the building industry are moving toward decarbonization because they know what needs to be done.

Thrive Home Builders, Pearl Homes, Meritage Homes, and Beazer Homes USA are examples of companies that have stepped up. Green Builder Media, in concert with some of the best minds in the industry, has rolled out the ESG for Building Defining Principles to help improve the carbon footprint of buildings as well as the COGNITION Carbon Offsets Marketplace, which offers a decarbonization strategy over and beyond what can currently be mitigated by building practices alone. 

The time has come for those of us inside and beyond the building industry to demand the creation of a new code development organization, structure, and process. ICC has proven, over and over again, that when push comes to shove, they will preserve and protect the massive markets and profits of the special interest industries and their trade associations to remain dominant in the code development and adoption arena.

Not only have they repeatedly ignored climate science, but they have also sacrificed the health and safety of concerned citizens, and those who represent them, all the way up to, and including, the Congress of the United States and numerous federal agencies.  

We all deserve a code development process predicated on integrity and an unwavering commitment to protecting the interests of the public, rather than the insatiable economic priorities of those who put them in their position of power.

Time has run out for the International Code Council. We must demand it now.