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Federal Alliance for Safe Homes offers plan to strengthen codes for disaster resilience

Some states losing ground on resilience, group says

August 21, 2015 |
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes offers plan to strengthen codes for disaster resilience

Photo: Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, accarrino/Creative Commons

The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) released a paper, Disaster Resilience Rising Means the Time is Right, offering recommendations to strengthen the U.S. building code system.

FLASH says communities are missing out on pre-disaster opportunities to strengthen disaster resilience—updating, adopting, and enforcing strong building codes. “An uncompromising system of strong, continuously updated building codes with consistent enforcement is essential to our country’s pursuit of disaster resilience,” said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “However, some states are not keeping pace, or worse, they are losing ground. We must use codes to innovate the way we build, and win against the mounting human and financial cost of disasters.”

FLASH proposes the following six innovations to the current U.S. building code system:

  • Establish a standing code and standard development process to accelerate post-catastrophe, forensic engineering insights into model codes and standards.
  • Optimize property protection opportunities in model code and standard development by balancing all of the existing values, including public health, safety, and welfare.
  • Evaluate, integrate, and leverage public and private sector beyond-code standards and programs into the International Code Council system to ensure continuity, increase awareness, and support disaster resilience innovation.
  • Enhance code development by broadening the representation of interest groups on the International Residential Code technical committees.
  • Support code adoption and enforcement mechanisms through an enhanced, well-resourced system of information provision to state and local officials as well as the public regarding benefits and mechanics of building codes and disaster-resilient construction.
  • Increase engagement by all stakeholders in the building code system through robust participation in each phase, including model code development, state and local adoption, and enforcement.
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