New HUD toolkit emphasizes resilient capacity of modern building codes
HUD develops toolkit to support adoption and implementation of resilient building codes
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a Resilient Building Codes Toolkit (Toolkit) on the HUD Exchange to provide information to practitioners, elected officials, authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs), the general public, and the building and construction sector on the aspects of resilience captured in provisions of modern building codes. The Toolkit highlights the shifting buildings codes landscape from strictly a life safety focus to an increased incorporation of both resilience and sustainability in response to the growing frequency and intensity of extreme natural hazard events. The Toolkit highlights the resilience measures captured throughout the International Code Council’s International Codes (I-Codes).
HUD developed the Toolkit with the aim to provide transparency on the benefits, barriers and misconceptions surrounding building codes. The toolkit contains six sections which includes:
- Introductory section providing elected officials and others information on the savings and avoided losses associated with the effective adoption and implementation of modern, resilient building codes.
- Narrative that explores buildings codes from governance, challenges, and opportunities and solutions, targeting practitioners.
- Checklists for communities and municipalities to learn more about their building codes and processes and opportunities for improvement.
- Summary table outlining current code adoptions and mandates by state as of March 2022.
- Procedures for code adoptions and amendments to enhance understanding for all audiences, but specifically for AHJ’s.
- Technical appendix that provides practitioners with information on the various available building codes and best practices for hazard-specific interventions.
Practitioners and communities can look to the Toolkit as a guide to inform their decision-making in pursuit of enhanced hazard resilience. The HUD Toolkit is intended to support Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) and CDBG Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) grantees in implementing resilient building codes to recover from disasters sustainably and mitigate their disaster risk to future hazards. The adoption and effective implementation of hazard-resistant building codes remains the most effective mitigation measure against hazard risk.
The Toolkit highlights the return on investment of building codes for resilience, citing the National Institute of Building Science’s (NIBS) Mitigation Saves study. The study found that the effective adoption and implementation of up-to-date building codes resulted in $6-12 savings (for inland flooding, wind, and earthquakes) for every dollar invested. The Toolkit also references the Federal Emergency Management’s (FEMA) Building Codes Save study, which determined that the adoption of model I-Codes provided avoided losses of $484 million for flooding events and $60 million for hurricane winds alone.
The I-Codes referenced throughout the Toolkit regarding their resilience contributions include the International Building Code (IBC), International Residential Code (IRC), International Fire Code (IFC), International Mechanical Code (IMC), International Plumbing Code (IPC), International Existing Building Code (IEBC), International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), and International Wildland-Urban Interface Code (IWUIC).
The International Code Council contributed to the development of the toolkit. To learn more about resilient building codes, visit the Code Council’s Resilience Toolkit.