A Federal Mandate for Statewide Building Codes

Adoption of a statewide building code to be eligible for federal disaster recovery funds.

by Eric Holdeman / May 6, 2019

One significant disaster mitigation element that needs to happen is for every state to establish a statewide building code. It is one fairly simplistic way to "build" disaster resilience within the new construction and remodeling that goes on everywhere in our national communities. Did you know some jurisdictions don't even have a building code?

See this opinion piece, Natural disasters could be far less damaging with better building codes. They don't call for it in the piece, but the technique that has worked time and again for other federal grant programs is to establish standards that must be met by grant recipients. Today, to get mitigation funding, the state and the individual jurisdiction must have a mitigation plan. Why not mandate that to obtain disaster recovery funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you have to have building codes in place? It would be great if they would establish the minimums for such a building code, for instance the International Building Code.  

Since it has the word "international," I can see some elements of our society wailing about the United Nations dictating our futures. Remember, there was a rumor in Texas that the UN was going to take over the golf courses in that state.  Unreasonable people believing crazy things!

I just know that when setting a bar, there are always those who want it so low that they can just "step over it" with minimal effort. The above is the right thing to do, which means it likely won't happen in my lifetime. 

Steve Myers shared the op-ed link above.