• Posted On: May 05, 2015

How to Strengthen Building Code Effectiveness

Hurricane season lasts from June through November. This is the time of year when strong storms may be expected to unleash heavy rains, powerful winds and consequent property damage. States that are vulnerable to such weather are wise to do all they can to prepare before summer storms strike. One way to do that is to enact up-to-date building code policies and be vigilant with enforcement.

Because different states encounter different threats, the building code requirements can vary from one state to another. Even among states which face the same threat of hurricanes, the mandated building requirements can vary. This year (2015) the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, or IBHS, issued a ratings report that evaluated building code implementation and enforcement in 18 Atlantic and Gulf Coast states. The report scored states on a scale of 1-100 in terms of how strong and current their existing building code program.

Regulated standards are set in place by state governments to safeguard the well-being of residents first and foremost. Building codes save lives and guard against bodily harm but they also save money by mandating all that can be reasonably done to protect against property losses. Codes govern nearly all aspects of building construction including plumbing, electrical and mechanics. Years of IBHS research shows that when states work to keep codes current with the latest construction techniques and safety innovations, property damage insurance claims significantly decline.

The IBHS scoring worked as follows: 50 percent of the score was awarded for having a state code that was demonstrably enforced, 25 percent of the score was based on requiring code officers to become certified and maintain continuing education and another 25 percent was based on building contractor licensing and continuing education.
The highest scores went to states with robust codes or states where there was evidence that state building codes were being updated and new enforcement policies were being tried. The lowest scores went to states with no regulatory code or those which operated under out-of-date building code programs.

Even if you are responsible for a state without a hurricane threat, there are compelling reasons to put some muscle into your local building code program. When strong codes are in place and enforced

  • The citizens feel safe
  • First responders feel safe
  • The community becomes more energy efficient
  • There is a uniform baseline for those involved in building design, construction and supply sales
  • The amount of post-disaster detritus put into landfills from severely damaged homes is reduced

How would your city fare under the terms of the IBHS report? One way to improve your standing would be to incorporate building code software into your current program. A software solution can help you to keep track of inspections, warnings and court actions. At Comcate we design software solutions to meet the real needs of city and state governments. Visit our website or contact us directly to find out how we can help your municipality earn a top score.

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