WASHINGTON, DC-Duane J. Desiderio has joined the Real Estate Roundtable as vice president and counsel. On board for three weeks now, his focus is on energy, environmental, land use and transportation issues as they relate to the commercial real estate industry. A policy expert in environmental resources and property rights, Desiderio joins the group from National Association of Home Builders. He replaces Roger Platt, who joined USGBC.

Most recently vice president for legal affairs NAHB–his tenure at the association ran from 1997–2009–Desiderio managed NAHB’s litigation program, where his work resulted in over 50 reported opinions. He’ll be drawing on that experience as the Roundtable gears up for Congress’ next big focus–the environment.

Right now, both the Roundtable and Congress has been focusing on financial services–and health care in the case of Congress alone. Once these matters are put to rest in one manner or another for this legislative session, Congress will begin focusing on the environmental and energy legislation that has been introduced.

These will have a big impact on the commercial real estate industry, Desiderio tells GlobeSt.com–and in some surprising ways.

“Most of the emphasis and attention has been on cap and trade provisions but one of the bigger issues that will impact the commercial real estate industry is the notion of federalizing building codes. That will work a sea change in how building codes are regulated.”

Currently state and local governments administer the codes, but some of the bills on the Hill right now would give the federal government a more intrusive role in overseeing, enforcing and even establishing building codes for building and energy efficiency, he says. In the worst case scenario, the federal government would assume a very heavy handed role in regulating building construction, Desiderio adds. “I think that point has gotten lost in the dialogue around the cap and trade issue.”

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