Tribal Building Code Legislation Urged To Protect Sovereignty

The International Code Council is mounting an effort to create an amendment to Section 408(d) of the Tribal Self Government Act of 2010, HR4347, that has passed the House and is currently pending in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The purpose is to help preserve the sovereign right of Tribes to establish building codes that best serve their infrastructure development needs, rather than having these codes dictated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Currently, HR 4347 Section 408(d)(1) provides:

"d) Codes and Standards- In carrying out a construction project under this title, an Indian tribe shall--
(1) adhere to applicable Federal, State, local, and tribal building codes, architectural and engineering standards, and applicable Federal guidelines regarding design, space, and operational standards, appropriate for the particular project…"

This language assumes that the codes and standards adopted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) are the same as, or consistent with, the codes and standards adopted by the Tribes, or by the jurisdictions in which Tribal construction projects are taking place. This is not always the case, as the BIA has adopted a building code (NFPA 5000) that is not currently in use by Tribes. If the BIA requires compliance with this code, which is inconsistent in certain areas with the International Building Code used by many Tribes, it could cause significant delays and increase the Tribe’s design and engineering costs.

The language the ICC is recommending to amend H.R. 4347 is as follows, to be added at the end of the first sentence of Sec 408 (d)(1):

"Where the applicable Federal guidelines or building code conflict with the building code adopted by the Tribe, the Tribal code shall be adhered to."

The adoption of by Tribes of civil codes for building projects and other activities is an important measure for the preservation of sovereignty. Federal agencies will more readily seek to impose their authority on Tribal activities if a Tribe does not have its own regulations in place to govern that activity. More information on this legislative effort regarding Tribal building codes is available from the ICC’s website.

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Caroline - February 13, 2011 8:35 AM

Hello all,
I could go on and comment on many of those 9very good) posts but I have some frustrations to share with you all.
I am a master student in Design and Technology. Currently working on my thesis ("Symbiosis on Turtle Island"), my aim is to acknowledge Native people through visualizing their presence… To make the story short, I am trying to 'map' different data sets, using native symbolism via processing (based on real data). You would not believe how difficult it is to find actual data about the 'shrinking' of Native land boundaries! It is so vague and generalized! Population is 'ok' in terms os record (I do understand that back in 1850, it was not 'easy' to 'count' people, as Native couldn't even begin to understand why they should be 'counted')…
As a designer, I want to tell a story without the spoken language, and I believe, that Native American is best suitable for what I'm trying to achieve as everything that happened and continue to happen is unexplainable with words without a 'argument' from someone, somewhere… I want to be able to say: here, LOOK, and SEE, numbers are showing you…. it IS. The user will become witness.
If anybody has information, GPI maps, ANY material that is relevant, links, contacts, please let me know!
One day, my son will ask me about his people, and I want to be able to show him, peacefully, and say, what will YOU do know?
Thank you,

James Contois - January 27, 2012 7:48 AM

I am a registered inventor at the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington D.C. Practioners number 38748. Deborah K. Wheeler my supposed co-inventor has indians in her family. I read that native indians can have a peice of land as long as it is reasonable. Well my design application to a new product of a Kick Wheel Potters table application no# 60/124,190 is made of native indian wood and of corse progressed to a potters wheel. I was prognosed a paranoid type schitzophrenic and of corse by now, conizant of the illness. Native indians make me experiance shock causeing tremmors and exasperation. My health care provider is the meridian behioral health care inc. in Starke/Gainesville Florida They understand that there are other patients as well but perhaps give like the sheriff, an overly concerned facade. Am I blabbing? James Contois Phone 904-263-3766 385 West Washington St Starke Florida 32091

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