The International Code Council and more than two dozen other organizations that make up the BuildStrong Coalition are urging Congress to pass the Safe Building Code Incentive Act (H.R. 2069). Under the proposed legislation, states that adopt and enforce recognized model building codes for residential and commercial structures would qualify for an additional 4% of funding available for post-disaster grants. The program would be administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“Too often, especially in smaller communities, there simply aren’t sufficient resources for building safety,” Code Council CEO Richard P. Weiland said. “The Code Council has long recognized this need and advocated for federal support. Better building through better code enforcement is clearly in the best interests of our country and every community in it.”
The Code Council’s model building codes—already enforced at the state or local level in all 50 states plus Washington, DC—help protect buildings from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, fire, and other natural disasters. On average, every dollar spent on building safer and stronger reduces losses from high-wind damage, floods, earthquakes, and other disasters by $4, according to a study funded by FEMA.
Another study by the World Watch Institute says that every dollar spent on disaster mitigation and preparedness saves $7 in disaster related economic loss. The Louisiana State University Hurricane Center estimates that stronger building codes would have reduced wind damage from Hurricane Katrina by 80%, saving $8 billion.
In addition to saving lives and reducing property loss, statewide building codes based on recognized standards can protect the environment from waste caused by rebuilding after a disaster, according to the Coalition. Sixteen states currently enforce existing building codes that would already qualify for the additional 4% funding. Another 15 states could qualify with minor changes to current laws and regulations.
BuildStrong will conduct a nationwide campaign urging the enactment of the Safe Building Code Incentive Act. The bill would provide powerful incentives to state governments to “Build Strong,” and save American lives and taxpayers’ money, according to the Coalition. The advocacy campaign will educate Congress, state policymakers, and the media about the critical importance of building codes.
To contact Congress about H.R. 2069, go to this link and click on the “Take Action” button.