WASHINGTON (Oct. 23, 2007) — The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) applauds Reps. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., for introducing legislation to encourage states to adopt strong statewide building codes. NAMIC, along with other members of the Building Codes Coalition, has encouraged Congress to create incentives for states to adopt appropriate statewide building codes for both residential and commercial structures.
“This is common-sense legislation that simply rewards those states that choose to promote responsible statewide building codes,” said Justin Roth, NAMIC’s senior federal affairs director. “It is clear when looking at states that have adopted strong building codes, the homes built after codes were adopted survive storms much better than those homes built before the codes."
The legislation, H.R.3926, The Building Code State Incentive Act of 2007, would increase the amount of federal monies available to states that enact and enforce nationally recognized statewide building codes. Specifically, it would add 4 percent to the money a state would be eligible to receive under current disaster relief legislation.
State standards for construction, code-related inspection, and enforcement vary widely across the country. While some states have adopted statewide building codes applicable to virtually every type of structure, others employ lesser degrees of regulation and code applicability, if any. Where statewide codes exist, it is not uncommon to see individual jurisdictions deviating from the state standard, occasionally resulting in a weakening of the model minimum standard.
Research has shown that having nationally recognized standards for building codes can provide a tremendous level of protection. The Louisiana State University Hurricane Center has estimated that of the $10 billion in damage to homes in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, modern building codes would have spared 80 percent of the damage.
"We view this legislation as a win for everyone,” Roth said. "Homeowners with homes built according to stronger codes will see less damage to their homes following storms, while taxpayers will also save money by not having to pay out as much in future disaster aid to those states that have stronger codes.”
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