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Industry Updates

Listen Up! Modern Building Codes Can Prevent Disasters


Growing up, many of us hated being told what to do. Our parents would tell us things like, “No dessert without eating your vegetables” or “Go to bed before 8:30.” But as we grew older, we realized that our parents knew darn well what they were talking about, and those rules made us better, healthier people.

The same goes for construction and why more builders should be listening to experts about modern building codes. In fact, Scientific American reports, a recent FEMA study shows that these are helping California and Florida avoid $1 billion annually in structural damage.

According to the magazine, both are the most disaster-prone states, and this study could help convince more to adopt these codes, despite the protests of builders who argue that they only add to costs. The study is set to be completed in August and will set itself apart by showing how much damage has been avoided across the nation by following the codes.

It also is part of FEMA’s efforts to lower the costs of natural disasters. According to the agency’s building engineer, Jonathan Westcott, two-thirds of the nation’s localities have yet to implement recent model codes.

“They don’t understand the long-term benefits of adopting stronger codes, and all they’re hearing is one side of the story,” he said at an annual conference of the Association of State Floodplain Managers. “Instead of just hearing about how expensive it is to add a foot of freeboard, they’re going to understand the financial benefits of doing that so they can make a balanced decision on what’s best for their community.”