October 13, 2008 – Louisiana: A new state-funded training program will help develop capacity among Louisiana building and construction professionals in cities and parishes both to improve building safety and create new career development opportunities.
The Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) — a national not-for-profit engineering and education organization affiliated with five state and local public interest groups — will carry out the program which will provide intensive construction code orientation and training throughout the state.
The new contract with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections continues a successful partnership forged in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to help local governments enforce the State Uniform Construction Code under a 2005 state law.
Under the new statewide training and education contract, IBTS will provide 240 days of training in eight locations throughout the state for building code professionals and construction industry stakeholders to increase knowledge of uniform construction codes. Program will be delivered in Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Natchitoches, Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans.
More than 400 current employees of local building departments, fire marshals, and other government officials, 200 third-party providers of code enforcement services and numerous builders, designers, architects, engineers, tradesmen, and Louisiana citizens interested in enhancing their knowledge of building codes are eligible to participate in the program.
IBTS Chief Executive Officer Ashok Goswami said the training program will focus on national and international standards which will be customized to meet local conditions.
“Our goal is to ensure that Louisiana has skilled, qualified, and certified personnel in both the public and private sectors to help governments there build a stronger and safer Louisiana,” Goswami said.
The program will address international and national building, residential, energy conservation, electrical, mechanical, and fuel gas codes as well as Louisiana plumbing code and state permit requirements.
“Through this contract, we plan to provide valuable knowledge to maximize state and local capacity in enforcing building standards,” Goswami said. “In addition, we believe our work in Louisiana will begin to establish a framework for a new career ladder for Louisiana residents to increase their longer-term opportunities and earning capacity.”
“IBTS’s work in Louisiana is a great example of what this unique organization can do to support state and local efforts to ensure building safety throughout the country,” said IBTS Board Chairman Robert S. Weiner, second district councilman in New Castle County, Delaware, who represents NACo on the IBTS Board.
IBTS has worked closely with both the Louisiana Municipal Association and the Louisiana Policy Jury Association — the two statewide organizations representing municipalities and parishes in the state — in carrying out its building code work.
Last year, Acting Undersecretary for Public Safety and Corrections Jill Boudreaux described IBTS and its work in the state as “a shining star” among the many providers who were working in Louisiana in the post-Katrina environment.