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Organization Out of Chaos: Using ICS to Manage Major Projects continued responsibility, limits the span of command and control for effectiveness, and collects appropriate documentation to verify all work has been completed. The key to ICS is its simple organization chart that is easy to use and remember (See Figure 1). It is important to remember that because ICS is scalable to suit the size and complexity of a project, not every position or “box on the chart” must be used on every job. Simple projects should be handled with simple processes. Furthermore, coordination is enhanced because communication occurs “vertically;” in general, workers should communicate only with whom they are connected by the solid lines shown in the ICS chart. Limited span of control is recommended; there should be one supervisor for every three to five inspectors working on specific tasks. Not only does this help communication, it enhances safety and accountability. At the top of the ICS chart is the Incident Commander. In an emergency, he or she is in overall command of the event and is responsible for coordinating the resources under his or her control. That person often is the most knowledgeable about the project and, in fact, may be among the “lower ranking” persons in an organization. A fire service axiom dictates the first arriving officer at an emergency is the incident commander until that role is transferred to someone else. In a certificate of occupancy closeout, it may be a lead inspector who oversaw the entire project. Likewise, the lead plan examiner may be a good candidate for Incident Commander (IC). The IC has additional resources at his or her immediate control: a safety officer, a public information officer and a liaison officer. The safety officer is responsible for assuring all required safety protocols are followed, to investigate accidents and report safety concerns to the IC. The public information officer communicates event or project status reports to the news media. The liaison officer plays a critical role, because he or she is the point of contact between the code official and other parties: owners, architects, other agencies, elected officials and whomever else may have an interest in the project. The liaison officer acts as a buffer to protect the IC from distractions. If needed, four functional personnel report directly to the IC: operations, planning, logistics and finance/ administration. In the fire service, operations is where the action occurs; these are the men and women who are first responders to emergencies. In a code environment, these would be the inspectors responsible for all facets of the close-out. An “operations section chief” is assigned to coordinate the work in this area. To assure such coordination, operations personnel often are assigned into two sub-categories: Divisions and Groups. Divisions are geographic, and Groups and functional. For example, if the code official wanted to assure several consecutive floors of a high-rise building or a wing of a new hospital were adequately checked by a multidiscipline inspection team, the IC could assign them as “Division 3-6” (for identification of the floors to be inspected) or “West Wing Division.” If inspectors with similar skills are needed to work together, the IC could create the “Fire Barrier Group,” the “Fire Sprinkler” and “Standpipe Group,” or the “Plumbing Group.” ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONAL AREAS Depending on a project’s complexity, the IC code official may want to draw in the other ICS functional areas: planning, logistics and finance/administration. The planning section chief is responsible for having a good grasp of what needs to be done to complete all the tasks. That person also creates a daily Incident Action Plan (IAP) setting out the IC’s goals and objectives for the day, identifying safety issues, tracking project progress and identifying resources. Daily goals and objectives may include whether all HVAC systems are tested and balanced, 50 percent of all sprinkler systems have been hydrostatically tested, or that fire door assemblies have been inspected and tested. The IAP—shared each morning at a daily briefing—even Figure 1. Incident Command System Model (Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency) OCTOBER 2016 | 32


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