Strategies to drive adoption of disaster-resistant codes

"Disaster-resistant building codes (are) the most effective method to ensure new and rebuilt structures are designed and constructed to a more resilient standard." – Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force

Strategies to Encourage State and Local Adoption of Disaster-Resistant Codes and Standards to Improve Resiliency provides a good communication and advocacy tool for architects on code adoption, implementation and application, both generally and for hazard risk reduction.

The report was prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Applied Technology Council, with input from the American Institute of Architects. It stems from a recommendation by the federal government’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, which called for a coordinated effort to encourage states and localities to adopt and enforce the most current versions of the International Building Code and the International Residential Code.

The report contains a series of recommendations on the best means to encourage and aid state and local communities in the nationwide adoption of the most current disaster-resistant codes and standards.

  • Work with key stakeholders to achieve building valuations that reflect the benefits of hazard resistance and code compliance.
  • Support the process of educating state lawmakers and local elected officials about the importance of building codes, including adoption and proper implementation.
  • Identify and support the research, development or update of technical and socio-economic studies crucial to building code adoption and implementation that may be beyond the resources of most states and localities.
  • Support the training of building design professionals and staff and construction contractors on the proper use and implementation of building codes, and integrating training with licensing and registration where required.
  • Support development of technical guidelines, pre-standards and consensus standards that can be incorporated into model building codes.
  • Use existing federal programs and technical assistance to improve state and local planning capacity for disaster recovery and resilience, including building code adoption and implementation.
  • Target education and outreach opportunities during the windows of opportunity that arise following disasters and with disaster anniversaries and other calendar dates such as the start of hurricane season.
  • Support development and delivery of building code educational content at secondary and college levels consistent with levels attained by various other related disciplines and groups.
  • Develop code-compliant, engineered and performance-based solutions to fill knowledge gaps in the building design industry, construction trades and building code implementation.
  • Assess the status of prior building code recommendations made by federal agencies, whether they were incorporated into model codes and standards, and what lessons can be gleaned to improve the adoption of future agency recommendations.
  • Promote development of a market-based, private sector-led grading system for the hazard-related performance of buildings.

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