TIA and ATIS at Odds Over Standards Committees

When the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Arlington, Va., started seriously considering separating its engineering standards committees from its trade association operations, TIA members began dialogue with the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), about combining efforts.


When the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Arlington, Va., started seriously considering separating its engineering standards committees from its trade association operations, TIA members began dialogue with the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), about combining efforts.

But after 18 months of informal discussions, TIA and ATIS couldn't reach a consensus.

Consequently, the relationship between the two organizations became even more strained when TIA officially announced their intention to spin off its standards committees into a new organization, and then ATIS responded with a proposal to consolidate TIA committees under ATIS.

Although ATIS stated that its intent is to capitalize on synergies that exist between the two organizations—as well as avoid a situation where the industry would have to support the infrastructure and resources for a brand new organization—TIA views the ATIS proposal as a "takeover," not a "merger of equals."

"Such a takeover of TIA work—and the intellectual property in its database of standards—together with the added costs to TIA members to 'join' ATIS, is not what TIA members will find acceptable," states TIA President Matthew J. Flanigan.

Despite differing visions of how standards committees in the telecommunications industry should be organized, the two associations remain open to dialogue.

According to a recent ATIS statement issued in response to TIA's concerns, "The (ATIS) blueprint was designed to serve as constructive input and to encourage further discussions, and does not serve as a detailed and fixed business plan."

Similarly, Dan Bart, TIA's senior vice president of standards and special projects, states, "Our hope is to come together with the best of both organizations, to come up with a single organization. But the details of that require working out."

Building Rehab Codes Make Debut

With approximately half of all U.S. building construction activity being dedicated to the rehabilitation of existing structures, more attention is being paid to developing comprehensive codes that deal specifically with retrofits.

For example, New Jersey and Maryland now have codes exclusively addressing alterations to existing buildings, and the International Code Council (ICC) plans to issue a similar document in 2003.

While current building codes typically have sections dealing with retrofits, they are primarily focused on new construction and lack predictability with regard to renovating existing buildings. This gives building officials considerable latitude in enforcing them, making it difficult for owners and design professionals to determine the scope and cost of work that will be required for renovations, according to Hamid Naderi, senior staff engineer with ICC.To address this, the ICC's new code, the International Existing Building Code—currently under development—establishes three levels for alteration projects, according to Naderi:

  • Level 1 includes the removal and replacement—or covering—of existing materials, elements, equipment or fixtures.

  • Level 2 includes the reconfiguration of space, the addition or elimination of any door or window, the reconfiguration or extension of any system or the installation of additional equipment.

  • Level 3 alterations apply where the work area exceeds 50% of the aggregate area of the building.

A/E Firm Hosts Sustainable Design Camp

Seeking to increase the use of sustainable design principles in today's buildings, St. Louis-based A/E firm Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum recently organized an in-house three-day seminar bringing together 50 designers representing the firm's 25 global offices.

The workshop promoted the spread of sustainable design expertise within the firm and enabled HOK professionals—including architects, engineers, consultants and interior designers—to exchange information and share resources.

In addition to the seminars, the program included a comprehensive review of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, also known as LEED rating system; a materials fair featuring energy-efficient and environmentally responsible products; and tours of sustainable projects in St. Louis.

A major advocate of green design, HOK publishes a bi-monthly sustainable design newsletter, which can be viewed at www.hoksustainabledesign.com .

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