Hours ago, Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Albio Sires, D-NJ, and Richard Hanna, R-NY, introduced H.R. 2069, the Safe Building Code Incentive Act, in the House of Representatives. This legislation is one of NAMIC’s key legislative priorities in the 112th Congress and the introduction represents a crucial step in our efforts.
At the beginning of the year, NAMIC and our partners in the Building Codes Coalition undertook a revamping of our efforts to pass legislation to encourage the construction of stronger buildings. With the newly branded BuildStrong campaign, we have spent the last several months working closely with a group of lawmakers from across the country who understand the devastation that can be caused by the multitude of different perils that threaten our nation. NAMIC has also made this a top tier issue for our Congressional Contact Program and through the efforts of our members have raised the awareness of the importance of building codes all over Capitol Hill. After many meetings and a lot of education we prepared the way for a June 1 introduction – the official start of the Atlantic storm season.
Already, 2011 has seen a large number of devastating natural catastrophes all over the world, from the tsunami in Japan to the powerful tornadoes whipping through the Southeast and Midwest. Powerful images of the destruction wrought by these events have offered a powerful reminder to many that strong buildings can prevent damage and save lives. A 2005 study by the National Institute of Building Sciences showed that every dollar spent on pre-disaster mitigation saves four dollars spent on rebuilding after a storm. The new bill would encourage smart spending before the storm so the country spends less recovering from it.
Specifically, H.R. 2069 Act would offer an incentive – not a mandate – to states to adopt statewide, enforceable building codes by providing an additional 4 percent of funding available for post-disaster grants under a program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. With stronger statewide building codes, total disaster relief will shrink over time, saving taxpayers considerable amounts of money.
Much of the tedious federal legislative process is about laying the groundwork for introduction – an integral piece of which is the active involvement of our members. NAMIC commends Reps. Diaz-Balart, Sires, and Hanna for their efforts in promoting this issue and introducing a bill. We look forward to working with them, our members, and the BuildStrong campaign to secure additional cosponsors and build momentum in the House, as well as introduce companion legislation in the Senate.