Congress clears 2020 National Defense Authorization Act
On Dec. 17, 2019, the United States Senate approved the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020, clearing the legislation for the President’s expected signature. The measure, which authorizes appropriations for the upcoming year and sets forth policies for U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) programs, requires that privatized military housing meet or exceed requirements set by a nationally recognized, consensus-based, model property maintenance code, such as the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC), by Feb. 1, 2021.
The IPMC, developed by the International Code Council, regulates the minimum maintenance requirements for existing buildings and establishes minimum standards for basic equipment, light, ventilation, heating, sanitation and fire safety. It is used or adopted in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The maintenance code requirement is part of a broader effort within the NDAA to improve the oversight, accountability, management and, most importantly, quality of privatized military housing following several reports detailing substandard conditions.
Separately, the DOD recently updated its building code, the Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC), to use the 2018 International Building Code, 2018 International Existing Building Code and 2018 International Plumbing Code. The UFC had previously required using the 2015 versions of these codes. The UFC establishes common requirements for DOD construction activities and addresses safety, functionality and durability.
“Setting maintenance requirements for military housing will help ensure our service members and their families are afforded access to the well-built, well-maintained, housing they deserve,” said Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. “The Code Council very much appreciates the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees in addressing these issues. By working to bring uniformity in building standards to our military housing and other Department of Defense facilities, we are helping to contribute toward the safety of our servicemen and women.”