We are happy to introduce a new feature of the Safer Buildings Coalition website – The monthly SBC Work Group Roundup

Our Work Groups are the vehicles by which:

  • Members’ voices are heard as SBC develops new public policy, codes, and standards (Government Affairs, Codes and Standards)
  • We develop Training Programs and Educational Content (Education)
  • Members tell us how to improve the Coalition to better serve them and the mission (Advancement)
  • Members can hear first changes in the industry involving all of the above
  • Each Work Group is guided by a Chair and a Vice Chair. The reports below will provide monthly updates from the Chair of each Work Group.
  • Participation in Work Groups is one of the best ways to realize value form your Safer Buildings Coalition Membership. Work Group participation is open to all Members of every type.
  • If you are interested in participating in a Work Group please contact the Chair of the group.

Work Group Updates:

Codes & Standards Work Group

Gov't Affairs Work Group

Education Work Group

Advancement Work Group

Update from the Codes & Standards Work Group

Codes and Standards Work Group

One of the most important projects this group has been working on recently is putting together a comprehensive BDA Comparison Matrix for the website, which Safer Buildings Coalition members can use as reference. 

The initial version is live. You can check it out here: The group is currently working on version 2 of the matrix.

The work group is also beginning work on a public safety DAS Matrix. Considering the variables with types of DASes and their end points, the DAS matrix will be somewhat limited in scope.   

During its latest meeting the Codes & Standards Work Group also addressed the following topics:

NFPA – IFC Code Cycle Overview
The group plans to put together a reference chart covering the NFPA and IFC code cycles for the next 24 months that will begin being published in the work group’s monthly minutes. 

Best Practice – In Code Or Not?
The members discussed if/where best practice should exist in the code (NFPA and IFC). It was suggested that, as with other fire services solutions, maybe a NICET-qualified (stamped) would be better way of handling this. A PE stamp is too broad and may not accommodate the RF issues, DAQ, fire protection topics that our solutions normally require.

DAQ Testing
Progress with effort to describe automated testing approval language and KPI targets. We need to encourage other test OEMs and code members to participate so that “as a coalition” the test result of BER (tangible measure) = DAQ (subjective measure) has a better foundation.

Update from the Government Affairs Work Group

Government Affairs Work Group

The Government Affairs Working Group has had a busy summer organizing allied partnerships and bringing on new talent to enhance its outreach. As a newer working group some of our focus and attention has been on identifying who the proper members should be. Invitations were extended, and we have recruited some very influential members who are positioned well for the advancement of SBC initiatives on a national level.

Here is an overview of the some of the key issues the group has been working on during its most recent meetings:

School Safety
Group members Richard Roberts and Chief Perdue are working on a school safety scoping document. Information will be forthcoming about that as it is a work in progress with other allied partners weighing in.

IRS Section 179
The working group has engaged the main issues surrounding IRS Section 179, particularly regarding tax credits for BDA systems, emphasizing explicit clarification is needed on who gets these credits.  One discussion included the issue of advanced depreciation, the ability to write off up to $1 million of allowable capital expenses each year which is in contention. several options, all of which take at least six months to a year to take effect. The options ranged from working with the IRS so that they give direction on complying with the existing Code, or the IRS issuing a notice of a public pronouncement containing guidance on certain points of the existing Code, to a ruling from the IRS regarding the official interpretation of the Code, to having a tax attorney interpret the current language and issuing an opinion letter or private letter. All of these options were costly and could eventually be in the range of $50,000 - $75,000. A question was asked if this amount was in the SBC budget; it is not likely the SBC General Fund can support this expenditure.

The group has also been discussing FirstNet and the situation involving its use of AT&T as a provider. Designed to be a self-funding entity, it has evolved away from that into, seemingly, an AT&T partner – much to the chagrin of the other major wireless carriers: Building owners must often seek AT&T approval in some municipalities to install their services in buildings. There is a proposal for the SBC to write up a guidance document to the industry that is market neutral while ensuring public safety at the same time. This should be reviewed by the GAWG as well as the SBC Board of Directors. 

State Actions
SBC Executive Director Perdue gave an update and noted that we are continuing to follow several state actions, in particular Florida (with Broward County) and also Iowa. Also, the NICET survey report recently completed indicated that approximately 7,200 individuals would like to obtain certification in specific areas. 

Update From the Education Work Group – A message From New Chair Dick Abbott

Education Work Group

I am pleased to accept the position of Safer Buildings Coalition Education Work Group Chair. The Education Work Group can provide a significant service to the In-Building Public Safety Radio community by both supporting the efforts to create a certification program through NICET, and the opportunity to inform, educate, and raise awareness of the key issues facing this community as a whole.

To be successful, this work group will need the support from SBC members with expertise as training specialists and in RF Engineering, Public Safety and Cellular DAS design, Fire Code requirements, and Property Management. This will be an opportunity for SBC members to both give back to the community and share the wealth of knowledge that exists within the SBC. 

We all have benefited from the mentoring provided by others in the industry, and we need to do the same for others. If you are interested and have the time to support this work group, please contact me at [email protected] or 386-276-6616.

 The goals of this new work group will be multiple:

  • Help establish a real training and certification program for In-Building Public Safety Radio System Designers, Installers, and Testers
  • Support the establishment of this certification program(s) through the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET)
  • Solicit inputs from stakeholders regarding the curricula, the minimum competence levels
  • Obtain support for this effort from SBC members where they are subject matter experts.
  • Seek the support from AHJs and regulators to mandate these certifications
  • Establish a program for training and certifying Public Safety Radio System Licensees similar to current APCO certifications
  • Establish a program for educating and informing Property Owners to both the requirements and opportunities associated with In-Building Public Safety Radio Systems
  • Publish periodic application notes that address topics of interest based upon the needs solicited from our diverse community

I have found throughout my career that the process of educating and training others is both self-fulfilling and results in significant self-education from questions and issues raised that I had never thought of. Therefore, I look forward this opportunity to work with both the SBC and its members to advance the objectives of this Education work group.

Dick Abbott

Update from the Advancement Work Group

Advancement Work Group

Here are the highlights from the latest meeting of the Advancement Work Group.

Mark Reynolds, Associate Director of IT and Voice for the University of New Mexico, is the new chair of the work group. Mark replaces Graybar's Eric Toenjes who has served on the work group for 3 years, for the last year as chair. Toenjes is now moving on to the SBC board. The group is currently looking for a new Vice Chair. 

The group addressed various issues regarding planning, sponsorship, pricing and other logistics concerning future Safer Buildings Coalition seminars. The Coalition will make a document covering these topics available to prospective sponsors in the near future.

The Advancement Work Group is also working on a member survey that will be out before the end of 2019 in order to set priorities for 2020.  Be sure to watch for and respond to the survey so that your voice can be heard.