The International Code Council has proposed to Congress a Community Building Code Administration Grant Program. In more than 130 meetings on Capitol Hill with Congressional offices, Code Council leaders promoted the proposal that would provide federal grants to building departments to enhance code enforcement capabilities.
"The program will help local jurisdictions by providing the resources they need to make sure the codes they adopt are being adequately enforced," said International Code Council CEO Rick Weiland. "It also will give jurisdictions the flexibility to invest in equipment, training, additional staff or whatever they need most to provide the highest level of safety possible." .
The funds would support hiring adequate staff and training of inspectors to save lives and protect property. Many communities see their resources stretched when they face building booms or major rebuilds after a disaster. .
"This grant program will help increase professionalism in order to better protect the public, especially during natural disasters," International Code Council President Wally Bailey, Director of Development and Construction for the city of Fort Smith, AR, told Congressional representatives. "It's all part of protecting our country and providing our citizens with the safest possible built environment."
The national benefits of the proposed federal program would be to reduce the impact of natural disasters on buildings, individuals and communities. 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. State and local code adoptions and enforcement of modern building codes are important and effective elements in a community's ability to survive and recover from disasters.
Congressional representatives responded positively to the proposal and follow-up efforts will focus on continuing to build a bipartisan coalition of sponsors and co-sponsors. The Council's Hill delegation included Code Council Board members, the Government Relations Advisory Committee, chapter leaders and senior staff.