Proposed legislation supports building safety
Revised Mar. 20, 2008
Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Rep. Dennis Moore of Kansas introduced legislation on Capitol Hill Wednesday, the Community Building Code Administration Grant Act of 2007, to provide federal grants to building departments to enhance public safety. The grant would provide $100 million per year over five years to help local governments hire, train and equip code officials, including building and fire inspectors.
“Too often, especially in smaller communities, there simply aren’t sufficient resources for building safety,” said International Code Council CEO Rick Weiland. “The Code Council has long recognized this need and applauds the vision of Senator Landrieu and Representative Moore for taking the lead in this important effort to provide much-needed funds to local code enforcement departments. Safety in homes, schools and all buildings for children, adults and seniors is a priority of every community in America. Congress is stepping forward to act on that priority. Better building through better code enforcement is clearly in the best interests of our country and every community in it.”
If approved by Congress, the Community Building Code Administration Grant Act would support hiring and training code officials to save lives and protect property. It would aid communities that see their resources stretched when they face building booms or major rebuilds after a disaster. Studies show that every dollar invested to build stronger and safer results in savings of $4 to $7 in reduced damages when a disaster occurs.
“As the Gulf Coast recovers from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we must ensure that our communities have the necessary funds to comply with safety standards for new public buildings and homes,” Landrieu said. “Currently, no federal funds are designated for building code administration, and as a result, there is widespread lack of enforcement, presenting a major threat to public safety.”
“As co-chair of the Congressional Hazards Caucus, I’m well aware of the damaging effects that natural disasters can have on our communities,” Moore said. “Our government is supposed to set priorities and invest taxpayer money wisely. I firmly believe that this legislation will help ensure the safety of buildings across the country and ultimately will reduce the cost to the American taxpayer after a disaster.”
“Code enforcers are on the front lines of public safety. The work they do every day saves lives and protects property,” Weiland said.
Co-sponsors of the Community Building Code Administration Grant Act are Reps. Melissa Bean of Illinois, Timothy Bishop of New York, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida, Ruben Hinojosa of Texas, Ron Klein of Florida, Doris Matsui of California and Christopher Murphy of Connecticut.
The Community Building Code Administration Grant Program Act now awaits consideration by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and House Committee on Financial Services.
The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states that adopt codes choose the International Codes developed by the International Code Council.