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Triple-I Blog | Modern building codes would prevent billions in disaster losses



A new study from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be an instrument for its efforts to convince states and localities to adopt current building codes.

The study, titled Building Codes Save: A Landswide Study of Loss Prevention, quantifies the physical and economic losses associated with floods, hurricanes and earthquakes that have been avoided due to buildings being built to modern, hazard-resistant building codes and standards.

In California and Florida ̵

1; two of the most disaster-prone US states – the study found that "adopting and maintaining modern risk-resistant building codes over the past 20 years indicates a long-term average future savings of $ 1 billion per year for these two states together . "

" The combined savings from these two states show the high value of adopting risk reduction I codes as a return on investment, "FEMA wrote, citing model construction codes published by the International Code Council.

" This provides give us the foundation to back up the recommendations we make, "said FEMA construction engineer Jonathan Westcott at a new flood prevention conference.

The study is part of FEMA's wider effort to reduce the growing cost of natural disasters by convincing states and municipalities to adopt building codes after 2000. Two-thirds of the country's sites have not adopted new model codes, Westcott said.

Communities often do not understand the long-term benefits of adopting stronger codes.

"Instead of just hearing about how expensive it is to put one foot of freeboard," Wescott said, "they will understand the financial benefits of doing so so that they can make a balanced decision on what is best for their community ”.


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