February 2012 — Inver Grove Heights, Minn. — Vince DiGiorno, AIA, architect at Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates, Inc., has been named to the State of Minnesota’s International Building Code advisory committee. The committee is charged with reviewing the 2012 International Building Code, suggesting state amendments to the code and submitting it to the Construction Codes and Licensing Division of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

The code document will undergo a series of departmental reviews and public hearings before being forwarded to the governor’s office for enactment.

The International Building Code is updated every three years, and in recent times, Minnesota has updated its building code version on a six-year cycle. The state is currently operating under the 2006 International Building Code that was adopted with state amendments in 2007.

DiGiorno is one of four American Institute of Architects (AIA) members serving on the advisory committee and is uniquely suited to the role, given that he is an expert on building code analysis. “It’s a good learning experience to be in the meetings, hear the discussions and learn what issues are giving people problems,” DiGiorno said. “There aren’t a lot of architects who spend a bulk of their time on code analysis, so it’s great to be with others who do what I do.”

The building code has significant implications for construction costs and insurance rates. If provisions are too restrictive, the cost of compliance can be restrictive. On the other hand, operating under a code that is considered out of date can cause insurance companies to increase rates in some instances.

Having DiGiorno serve on the advisory committee furthers KOMA’s reputation for expertise in the area of building codes. For example, KOMA’s successful work at Mall of America can be at least partially attributed to extensive knowledge of the building code and understanding of the complex alternative designs that the mall designers submitted and which were approved because of the unique scope of that project.

Knowledge of building codes can help generate creative solutions to building challenges and help control construction costs, but the overriding benefit is safety. “Yes, having the expertise can help us work around issues and save money,” DiGiorno said. “Conversely, we can make a building safer through our expertise. Being a safety advocate is being a good advocate for our clients. To make a concession to save $10,000 during construction doesn’t do anybody any good.”