Canadian Contractor

A plea for open source standards


March 11, 2020
By Rob Blackstien

The discussion about why the Building Code isn’t free dates back several years on our site and has received plenty of responses over time. However, the thread had been dormant since Halloween — perhaps fittingly — but now Brad C. has brought it back to life with some very interesting suggestions:

I was directly involved with many standards organizations for nine years from the perspective of trying to simplify content organization, interpretation, distribution and enable modern business models. Much of this as you can imagine doesn’t work in the slow progressing standards world. Standards were built on volunteers such as how many of the standards are produced by CSA today. People all year go to CSA and meet at their expense to discuss codes for literally nothing more than recognition of being a part of the publication. As they state they wouldn’t exist with out their volunteers.

Reading the comments and from my own experience of trying to move them into a modern model, wouldn’t it make sense to have open source standards online that are governed by a set of rules and suggestions voted upon nationally and leave the testing of products to the organizations? The Code itself could be free to students or pay per use or small subscription based and have the majority of revenue based around added services such as industry related AI applications, analytics, etc. These publishers need to stop selling books and worrying about copyright and start offering publications as a PaaS (publications as a service) model.

What do you think, Contractor Nation? Is Brad on to a good idea here?


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