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Most states have failed building codes, FEMA says

The new federal analysis gives the lowest possible rating on the quality of building codes, with the exception of only a handful of states, and widespread failure to protect people from storms and floods through the latest building codes. It is shown that it is.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has classified each state based on the rigor of the Building Standards Act, with 39 states in the lowest category.

FEMA also rated each state on a 100-point scale. 19 states scored 0, including the most disaster-prone states in the United States, including Louisiana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

“It’s a really dirty little secret that many disaster-prone communities don’t set the norms for community preparation and protection,” said Leslie Chapman Henderson, President of the Federal Union of Safe Homes. ..

Ten states, including California, Florida, New Jersey, and New York, each received the highest rating with a score of 99.

FEMA rating Mark new federal efforts to analyze and highlight key elements of climate protection that have been overlooked.

The Building Standards Act sets minimum standards for residential and commercial structures to withstand events such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, and regulates new construction and major renovations.

“These are the most important and predictive factors that determine whether a home can withstand a disaster,” Chapman Henderson said. She called the FEMA rating a “gold standard.”

Groups such as the FEMA, the insurance industry, and climate advocacy groups have called on states and local governments to adopt the latest building codes to enhance protection against climate effects. A 2020 FEMA Survey It turns out that thousands of areas have archaic building codes that expose people to “dangerous, costly, and unnecessarily high levels of risk.”

“On the federal side, more and more attention is being paid to encouraging or encouraging communities to update to the latest version of the code,” said the International Code Council, which publishes the widely used building code in the state. Ryan Colker, vice president of the association, said. And the area.

Numerous low scores in FEMA’s latest assessment put pressure on state authorities to refrain from updating building codes amid concerns that strict new standards could increase building costs. is showing.

“You certainly have members who want the code to stay the same,” Colker said. “Citizens don’t really understand the role of the code. There is no large public agency to support the update.”

FEMA called the assessment a “tool” that authorities could use “to encourage the adoption of the latest building codes.”

FEMA published a similar scoresheet a year ago when 28 states received the lowest ratings from the Emergency Management Agency. Many states were unable to adopt the latest version of the Parliamentary Building Standards Act, which is updated every three years, resulting in lower scores this year.

“There are benefits to continuous code updates, such as collecting the latest research and technology,” says Colker. “The number and severity of hazard events is increasing.”

The council publishes two major “model” building code laws, which are updated through a consensus process involving thousands of private and public sector employees. One code is for commercial buildings and the other is for residential buildings.

States and local governments can fully adopt or make changes to the model code.

FEMA’s assessment differs from last year’s analysis by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, a non-profit research group funded by the insurance industry that studies disaster safety.The The agency evaluated 18 states On the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Louisiana and North Carolina were given “good” ratings, and New York received “bad” scores.

The different results reflect a discrepancy in the way observers evaluate the state’s building code.

FEMA ratings and scores are based on the percentage of communities in each state that comply with the latest building codes. Ratings do not take into account the population of the community. This does not necessarily reflect the percentage of state residents facing danger exposure under the old building code.

Building code policies vary from state to state. Some states have adopted building codes that automatically apply to all communities. Some states have building codes, but let the municipality decide whether to comply with them. Also, some states take no action and the building code is entirely up to the local government.

Florida has achieved an almost complete score of 99.1 percent because it has adopted the latest building codes that all counties and municipalities must comply with. (FEMA deducted 9/10 percent points because some flood-prone communities do not participate in FEMA’s flood insurance program.)

FEMA gave Texas a 10% score because the state has given the municipality “wide discretion to change” the code according to the old code issued in 2012. Texas did not receive a score of 0 because major cities such as San Antonio changed the state code so rigorously.

Insurance institution ratings are based on the Building Standards Act, and the enforcement of the Building Standards Act and the training of building inspectors.

Code Council Colker said some states did not adopt the latest code because the Covid-19 pandemic interfered with the meeting.

Reprinted from E & E News With the permission of POLITICO and LLC. Copyright 2022. E & E News provides essential news for energy and environmental professionals.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/most-states-are-failing-on-building-codes-fema-says/ Most states have failed building codes, FEMA says

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