Feds press model building code adoption, resiliency measures

Sources: White House Briefing Room; Federal Emergency Management Agency

The White House’s National Initiative to Advance Building Codes aims to help state, local, tribal, and territorial governments adopt current codes and standards, enabling communities to be more resilient to hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other extreme weather events. The initiative will see the White House staff and federal agencies:

• Comprehensively review funding and financing of building construction to ensure federally-supported housing and other building projects follow modern building codes and standards to the greatest extent feasible. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example, will promote resilient and efficient building standards in new construction supported by Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds.

• Harness $225 million in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding for the Department of Energy to support implementation of updated building energy codes and create good-quality jobs, including through workforce training partnerships and direct support to state and local agencies..

• Provide incentives and support for communities to adopt current building codes and standards by providing technical assistance, implementing proven strategies and best practices—such as those in the new Federal Emergency Management Agency Building Codes Strategy—across all relevant agencies in the federal government.

• Deploy mapping tools that help track code adoption based on energy efficiency and local hazards such as flood, earthquake, tornado, and hurricane risk.

• Lead by example across the federal building portfolio by seizing opportunities to advance “above-code” resilience and energy efficiency standards in new projects, as well as developing the first Federal Building Performance Standards to help achieve net-zero emissions across new and existing facilities by 2045.

“The National Institute of Building Sciences reports that the adoption of hazard resistant building codes saves communities $11 per every $1 invested,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “By modernizing building codes, we will not only save money by protecting people’s property and lowering energy costs, but we will also protect lives by making our infrastructure more resilient to severe weather. This critical initiative underscores  commitment to achieving these objectives by bolstering the  adoption of the latest, current building codes and standards across this nation.”