One way the cloud can vastly simplify life for construction, engineering and architectural firms is by literally replacing volumes and volumes of books and/or downloads. These include building code books, standards such as ASCE, ASHRAE, NFPA, ASME, IGCC, OSHA, and so many more. When these items are available in the cloud, they’re available anytime and anywhere, regardless of device as long as it’s connected to the Internet. And, they don’t have to be downloaded. There is movement and progress on two fronts here.

Taking a bite out of fragmentation

First the progress. If you need to have access to more than one standards or code book you’re left to manage multiple subscriptions at multiple vendors. There is a way however to get all you need in one place. You can create your own custom library right in the cloud over at MADCAD. Select the codes and standards that you use all the time and add them to your library. Alternatively, you can select from an assortment of packages populated with books that are commonly used together. This can give you a savings over selecting items individually.

For example, you can select the ASTM Construction Collection that includes more than 8,000 books going back several years that cover the testing specifications for products and materials used everyday in construction. That collection will cost $3,800 for unlimited users at one location for one year. If you buy online access for one user to each of ASTM’s 04.01 through 04.13, directly from ASTM, you’ll pay $4,370. Alternatively, if you take advantage of the special I noted while I was researching this, you’ll get it for $3,278. The thing is, most architectural, engineering and construction companies need access to much more than just ASTM.

MADCAD includes a selection of options. You decide how many simultaneous users you want to have access, the access methodology (user login, intranet, IP authentication), and which of two reports you want to have tracking all the activity. Paid subscriptions also include free items such as content from OSHA, FEMA, HUD and more. Not every code book is available and there are only codes from 14 states. But that’s where there is movement afoot elsewhere.

Addressing the jurisdictional problem

Fiatech’s U.S. Local Codes in the Cloud project is addressing this problem by creating a cloud-based library where model codes, state and local amendments, addendum, errata and executive orders are organized by jurisdiction. By creating a virtual custom library one will be able to find the complete construction requirements with a simple click. Fiatech is an initiative based at the University of Texas and describing itself as an “international community of passionate stakeholders” out to “make step change improvement in the design, engineering, construction, and maintenance of large capital assets.”

A project team is working with Fiatech member Compu-tecture and their MADCAD.com platform, which currently contains more than 50,000 model building codes and standards as well as state-wide codes in a searchable and continuously updated cloud, to add the code provisions of over 5,000 local jurisdictions across the United States.

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