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gavel Public Policy
Photo of Mississippi statewide building code law signing ceremony

Strong, uniform, modern building codes provide numerous benefits to home and business owners alike, including improving the safety and integrity of structures, thereby reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from natural disasters. The enforcement of building codes plays a vital role in public safety and loss prevention, which can reduce the need for public disaster aid and increase a community’s resilience.

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The second edition of IBHS’ Rating the States report finds most states with strong building code systems in place at the time of the original 2012 report remain committed to building safety; they updated their codes to the latest model code editions, or are in the process of doing so, and maintained effective enforcement systems. Unfortunately, a number of states took no action to improve their code systems, and a few have weaker systems in place now than in 2012.

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Congress has an important role to play in helping our nation prepare for and respond to natural disasters and can help save lives, encourage personal responsibility, enhance market-based solutions, promote long-term fiscal restraint, reduce public sector response and recovery costs, and create a more resilient society.

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Coastal resilience is defined as the ability of communities to proactively protect themselves against hazardous events and bounce back, rather than simply react, when they occur. Consistent with coastal resilience, it is imperative to ensure green structures also meet wind resistance and storm surge requirements.

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Suburban houses. High angle view.

IBHS has identified the following five concepts as central to the economics of community disaster resilience: (1) “going green and building strong”; (2) residential and commercial building performance; (3) emergency preparation and response; (4) building codes as a threshold; and (5) variety of public and private sectors incentives.

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Kentucky guardsmen relief

Disaster-related loss prevention encompasses a wide range of activities that should be undertaken to increase the likelihood that homes, workplaces, and essential public buildings can survive a natural or human-induced catastrophe. Addressing the needs and challenges of vulnerable populations—the poor, elderly, disabled, and others needing special assistance in high-risk areas—is critical.

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Julie Rochman, IBHS president & CEO testifies before the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management in support of the "Safe Building Code Incentive Act"

Because IBHS is a non-profit organization, its direct participation in lobbying activities is extremely limited and consistent with Internal Revenue Code rules. Within this context, IBHS representatives may testify at legislative hearings at the request of Congressional or state legislative committees.

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