WASHINGTON (June 1, 2011) As Hurricane season begins today, legislation to incentivize the adoption and enforcement of strong building codes by the states will, if enacted, help protect Americans from future storms, according to the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC).
“The Safe Building Codes Incentive Act represents a major positive step toward the goal of properly preparing this country for major natural disasters through the construction of stronger buildings,” said Matt Gannon, assistant vice president of federal affairs for NAMIC.
Introduced today by Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Richard Hanna (R-NY), H.R. 2069, the Safe Building Codes Incentive Act, would provide additional post-disaster relief in the aftermath of a severe storm for those states with strong statewide building codes.
“We applaud Reps. Diaz-Balart, Sires and Hanna for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with them and other members of Congress to pass this bill,” said Gannon. “They will lead a strong coalition of lawmakers from across the country that understand the devastation caused by the multitude of perils that threaten our nation.”
Specifically, the bill would provide an additional 4-percent of funding available for post-disaster grants under a program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“Building codes help save lives and have proven to be among the most cost effective ways of preventing property losses, which is why many states have already adopted this common sense approach,” said Gannon, noting a 2005 study by the National Institute of Building Sciences showing that every dollar spent on mitigation saves four dollars spent on rebuilding after a storm. “Mitigation is about spending wisely before the storm so you can spend less recovering from it.”
The additional grant money is entirely optional; there is no mandate in the bill for those states that choose not to act. “This legislation recognizes the rights of the states to decide for themselves how buildings should be constructed, but it encourages them to build stronger,” said Gannon. “Building codes save private property, prevent environmental damage and reduce the need for taxpayer-funded disaster aid. Most importantly, building codes save lives. This bill will encourage strong building codes across the country and we thank the original sponsors for their Leadership.”
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