Hazard mitigation study paints outsized ROI for I-Codes compliance

Sources: National Institute of Building Sciences, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

A new National Institute of Building Sciences report highlights the significant savings realized from implementing mitigation strategies in terms of safety, property loss prevention, and day-to-day life disruption. The project team behind the Interim Report on the Value of Mitigation weighs the benefits of designing homes and buildings to meet the 2018 International Residential and International Building Codes versus the prior generation of codes reflecting 1990s-era practice and National Flood Insurance Program requirements. 

Team members calculate a national benefit of $11 for every $1 invested in structures aligning current IBC and IRC standards. Communities that consistently meet the latest editions of commonly adopted code requirements have added 30,000 new jobs to the construction materials industry and spurred an approximate 0.3 percent increase in material consumption for each year of new construction abiding current codes over past practice. 

Mitigation strategies the team studied demonstrate that a) For flood resistance, incorporating at least one foot of freeboard into the elevation requirements to comply with the 2018 I-Codes saves $6 for every $1 invested; b) For resistance to hurricane winds, complying with roofing and a variety of openings and connection detailing requirements in the 2018 I-Codes saves $10 for every $1 invested; and, c) For resistance to earthquakes, designing new buildings to be stronger and stiffer per 2018 I-Code provisions saves $12 for every $1 invested. The report determines that these benefits carry over to all stakeholders—from developers, title holders and lenders to tenants, owners and communities.

Released during Building Innovation 2019: The NIBS Seventh Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., Interim Report on the Value of Mitigation is a compilation of the project team’s results to this point and includes findings from a 2017 update plus Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: Utilities and Transportation Infrastructure, released in October 2018. As with preceding documents, the new report is an independent work funded with the support of public and private organizations interested in raising stakeholder knowledge of hazard mitigation benefits. In addition to the International Code Council, sponsors include the Department of Housing and Urban Development; Economic Development Administration; Federal Emergency Management Administration; American Institute of Architects; Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety; and, National Fire Protection Association. The report is posted here.


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