“The supply of government exceeds the demand”
— Lewis Lapham
Once per month we walk through the legislative action of federal agencies that affect the education facility industry; with special attention to the way money flows into physical infrastructure. The education industry builds about $80 billion of new or renovated square footage it every year — and takes another $240 billion to manage it — making it the largest non-residential building construction market in the United States (CLICK HERE for our coverage of the monthly US Commerce Department report on construction activity).
Three-hundred billion running through any industry sets the foundation for market-making by incumbent stakeholders using legislative processes. Incumbents work the market on two fronts:
- Direct legislative influence — i.e. crafting new legislation, or revising legacy legislation (e.g. the Higher Education Act of 1965, and others)
- Writing codes and standards that are incorporated by reference into new or legacy legislation
As of this posting, the most significant legislative item is the passing of the federal budget, enacted by the President on December 20th:
A breakdown for the education industry is linked below:
We do not advocate in any of this but it is wise to follow because, when commenting opportunities present themselves, some knowledge of action elsewhere informs our response to the development of privately developed consensus products.
We cover the legislative drafting technique of “incorporation by reference” * at length here. The National Technology Transfer & Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA) is founding legislation for advancing the public-private partnerships that produce consensus products for the safety and sustainability agenda of governments at all levels. Incumbent stakeholders — typically non-profit — remain incumbents because their business model is supported by the US tax code. That means they can also finance advocacy activity that works around the NTTAA by supporting legislation and legislators.
The ferocity of federal-level legislative proposals is noteworthy; with food, technology and energy-related proposals the most fierce. We list a few proposals from the present (116th Congress) below:
To understand the underpinning of how codes and standards are developed, adopted and enforced, education facility managers should keep in mind that equipment and systems do not vote. The people who invent, build, install and maintain them do vote. We find that state agencies that administer the building codes for schools, colleges and universities are heavily influenced by labor interests. Usually this outsized influence is for the better; but not always.
We are happy to walk you through all, or all of the most relevant, legislative proposals as of this posting. Our algorithm picks up public commenting opportunities that federal agencies post on changes to existing legislation. We curate and list them in the link below:
Energy-related proposals that affect the education industry energy agenda has also been omitted from this list and referred to our monthly Electrical, Mechanical and Energy standards teleconferences (See our CALENDAR). Energy legislation and regulations are a crazy space and needs a separate meeting. We host a monthly Energy Standards and Management & Finance teleconference that cover public commenting opportunities in those spaces.
ANSI CEO Joe Bhatia explains the US Technology Transfer & Advancement Act at the University of Michigan.
*(CLICK HERE for our post on how the Canadian Parliament reckons with the strengths and weaknesses of this law-making technique)
**As of this post, there is no publicly available group photo of the 116th Congress