IBQC 2021 Mid-year report

IBQC 2021 Mid-year report

5 Aug 2021

By Professor Kim Lovegrove MSE RML, Chair of the IBQC, Senior Lawyer, Lovegrove & Cotton

The IBQC was established 18 months ago to provide an international thought leadership hub for the development of international good practice building regulatory systems. The University of Canberra, in Canberra, Australia, took the initiative in occupying this space.  In late 2020 the International Codes Council (ICC) of the United States began to commit some of its considerable resources behind this initiative by way of the provision of logistical and human resources.

One of the IBQC’s first tasks was to establish a diverse and multinational Board, to comprise a truly global coalition of international thought leaders. The criteria for Board eligibility was a level of expertise that was venerated both regionally and internationally. The Board has representatives from the United Kingdom, Peru, Columbia, the United States of America, Kenya, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

In keeping with the diversity and cosmopolitism of the Board we have representatives from global NGOs, prominent universities, government, the legal profession and the private sector; in the disciplines of engineering (fire, chemical and water), building, urban planning, construction law, architecture and economics. The unifying amalgam is a passion for global building regulatory enhancement and improvement of building regulatory constructs in low to high income country settings.

One recalls the old saying, ‘if you want a job well done, brief someone who is very busy’. All of the board members are very, very busy people – yet give so very generously of their time, on a pro bono basis, to the design of good practice building regulatory guidelines. In keeping with our a-political remit, the IBQC is issue-focussed and solution-driven, for it is not the mandate of the organisation to level criticism, as there are many forums and actors that populate this space. Rather the IBQC is preoccupied with solution engineering; the utilitarian extrapolations from lessons derived from that which has failed and succeeded; and to fashion concepts that can better ‘inoculate’ building regulatory ecology against harm. These motivations are integral elements of the IBQC’s essence.

The Journey and the Key milestones

Even though the IBQC is in its youth, much has been achieved, not the least of which is mapped out below:-

  • The official launch of the IBQC took place at the University of Canberra in March 2020 and the launch was convened by the Australian Governor General, His Excellency General the Honourable David John Hurley AC DSC (retd), who so very graciously gave of his time and, in so doing, afforded the event tremendous gravitas.
  • The formation and coming together of the Board occurred over the ensuing 6 months.
  • The September 2020 launch of Principles for Good Practice Regulation. The preface of the guidelines is instructive and even though the guidelines were issued nigh on 12 months ago they are evergreen, as relevant today as they were then. The Guidelines’ preface provided a sound ‘mantra’ as it were, for the basis of building regulatory architecture.

“Good practice regulatory systems must not only provide a very high level of public safety but must also be efficient and facilitate high quality design, system and material innovations fully compliant with safety standards. Good practice building regulatory regimes therefore must be a win – win proposition relative to safety, efficiency and innovation.

  • The inaugural international on line conference on Good Practice Building Regulation hosted by the ICC  October 2020 (hyperlink the conference). The reader is encouraged to log into the podcast as the speaker line up was most learned  and the content paramount.
  • In July 2021 an international podcast, hosted by the ICC and the IBQC, explaining the implications of said Guidelines took place. In discussing the purposes of these guidelines, Professor Alfred Omenya, an IBQC Board member, rather poignantly stated that:-

We are doing advocacy around building codes and standards, trying to explain why they must be there and why they must be generated from first principles so that they can start speaking to their problems. So that they have  the relevance of the code, so that the ordinary citizens embrace the code because they know that the code is there to protect them, to give them a good quality environment to live in, to protect them from the vagaries of disaster, to protect their investment”

Projects on foot and projects pending

Product safety Guidelines

A problem statement will shortly be released internationally for comment on the challenges and issues that currently confront product safety on a global basis. Once feedback is forthcoming, good practice guidelines will be developed on how to better harmonise and improve pan – regional product safety.

Working Group

  • Chair: Dame Judith Hackitt
  • Prof Neil Savery, CEO Australian Building Codes Board,
  • Bronwyn Weir, of Australian Construction law firm, Weir Legal
  • Stephanie Barwise QC of Atkin Chambers London
  • Prof Kim Lovegrove, of Lovegrove Cotton Lawyers and chair of the IBQC
  • Judy Zakreski of the ICC

Time line

The publication of the problem statement is imminent and the guidelines will in all likelihood be completed proximate to years` end.


Fire Engineering Guidelines

Fire engineering is a vital sector of the building industry and has more than ever come into focus with the Grenfell enquiry and some other destructive fire incidents in other parts of the world. This group will produce guidelines on holistic approaches to the improvement of fire engineering and fie engineering competencies and the role of regulation in abetting those objectives.

Working Group

  • Chair Professor Jose Torero, University College London.
  • Prof Neil Savery,
  • Bronwyn Weir,
  • Prof Robert Whittaker AM, Holdom Whittaker
  • Prof Dr.-Ing. Robert Hertle,
  • Enrique Orellana Tamez, World Bank
  • Prof Kim Lovegrove

Time line

The aim is for the guidelines to be finalised in December.


International Generic Building Inspector Certificate

A number of emerging economies lack the institutional capacity to develop and train building officials in good practice building inspection. Some countries do not have qualified building officials. This group is developing a building inspector curricular that will be generic and cross – jurisdictional in its reach, that will be based upon the science of inspection rather than an interaction that is bespoke to  local codes. This is in recognition of the reality that some low income countries do not have dedicated regulations for the oversight of building control. Once the certification is finished it will be able to be taught on line and it is hoped that certain NGOS that are involved in emerging economy capacity building will assist with promoting the importance of this new educational capacity building mechanism.

Working Group

  • Chair Judy Zakreski  Global Vice President ICC
  • Prof Stephen Kip, Skip fire engineering
  • Prof Robert Whittaker AM
  • Prof Charles Lemckert, University of Canberra, Deputy Chair IBQC
  • Prof Jose Torero, University College London
  • Rosie Killip, Building Networks NZ
  • Professor Alfred Omenya, Nairobi University
  • Prof Kim Lovegrove
  • Michael De Lint, DCI Consulting

Time line

Approximately 18 months.


Annual Conference

There is a likelihood of an annual conference by years’ end but that will depend upon the time constraints that are visited upon the Board members and additional speakers. Covert imposes greater logistically challenges than has traditionally been the case.


Accessing IBQC material

The reader is encouraged to access IBQC papers, the library, the inaugural conference and podcasts by clicking the above hyperlinks and to gain further insight into the IBQCs vision.