Anyone who has ever worked in Construction in New York City knows that navigating the building code is one of the toughest parts of the job outside of the physicality involved. Not keeping up with the regular changes in the Code can lead to violations, fines, and unacceptable delays. While keeping copies of the Code on-site is one way of trying to ensure development is up to snuff, it’s far from fool-proof and definitely not very convenient. UpCodes, a new app startup, hopes to change all this by keeping every building code and their respective changes in your pocket with promises of real-time updates.
Started in 2015 by brothers Garrett and Scott Reynolds, UpCodes hopes to make code compliance a much more simple and collaborative endeavor. While Scott started his career as an architect and Garrett as the CTO of PlanGrid (another software company focusing on the Construction Industry), their diverse backgrounds complement each other and are the foundation of the UpCodes application. By mixing real-world experience dealing with the hodgepodge of building codes and technical expertise of building an app for Construction and Design professionals, UpCodes hopes to one day replace books and printouts at the job site.
Compliance and Collaboration are the Driving Force of UpCodes
At its core, UpCodes is a centralized database of federal, state, and local building codes that can alert you whenever there’s a relevant update. Once you get beyond the surface, you quickly see how UpCodes can make books and PDFs obsolete and reduce the time and money spent by companies verifying code compliance. “I came out of school where design is freeform and architecture is a very creative endeavor, then got into the workforce and realized how difficult the regulation atmosphere is to navigate,” Scott tells TechCrunch in a July 2017 interview; a frustration that left him disillusioned in his career in Architecture. Shortly after, Scott sought out his brother to build UpCodes over a Thanksgiving Day weekend.
When using the app, you can simply search by keyword (for example, “means of egress”) and UpCodes will immediately take you to the appropriate chapter in NYC Building Code. What you’ll notice right out of the gate, is that the code’s text will be populated in the app (complete with their clean and easy to read layout) and does not redirect to a PDF document as it exists on the DOB website. This allows you to highlight the text and share with collaborators via email or messaging app. In the event of a change or code update, UpCodes will crawl their databases and send a push notification to your device letting you know that there’s been a relevant change. UpCodes will also allow teams to create project folders to keep all codes for any a project available to all team members whether they’re in the office on their desktop or in the field using a mobile device.
The Future of Building Code Compliance
The Reynolds Brothers are dreaming up a future where technology not only makes it easier to stay compliant but can proactively scan plans during the drafting phase to ensure they’re up to code long before they’re even submitted. The use of machine learning in future releases of the app hopes to use existing data to create predictive models that know the type of project you’re working on and proactively provide sections of the code that are appropriate to the scope of your work. You can try out the UpCodes app and be one of the 61,000 monthly users that are taking advantage of collaborative compliance.