Last week, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) introduced legislation in their respective chambers that would provide states with additional disaster relief funding if they enact modern building codes.
The “Safe Building Code Incentive Act of 2013” is S. 905 in the Senate and H.R. 1878 in the House.
The Big “I” supports the bill and has long advocated for federal incentives for states and localities to adopt strong building codes. The Big “I” is a member of the BuildStrong Coalition, a coalition of industry associations and companies currently working with Congress on ways to strengthen and improve building codes.
The “Safe Building Code Incentive Act” would create a financial incentive for states that have adopted and enforced statewide building codes.
Under the proposed law, states that adopt and enforce nationally 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.
According to a National Institute of Building Sciences study, for every $1 spent to make buildings and homes stronger, the American taxpayer saves $4 in federal disaster assistance. In addition, the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center estimated that stronger building codes would have reduced wind damage from Hurricane Katrina by 80%, saving $8 billion.
The Big “I” and many industry experts believe that standardized building codes, adopted at the state level to address state-specific perils, promote a level and consistent playing field for design professionals, suppliers and builders. They also create a minimum standard upon which consumers can rely.
The Big “I” strongly supports both S. 905 and H.R. 1878 and urges Congress to consider the legislation at the earliest opportunity.
John Prible is Big “I” vice president of federal government affairs.