Administration Calls for Building Code Changes to Battle Extreme Weather

May 11, 2016



The White House released its 'Public and Private Sector Efforts to Increase Community Resilience through Building Codes and Standards' on Tuesday calling for baseline minimum requirements to ensure public and private structures will withstand the impact of climate change.

The administration announced the start of work by the organizations that set standards for residential and commercial buildings in an effort to improve safety during and after events such as fires, floods and earthquakes.

A report in Bloomberg Politics says the White House points to a 2005 study by the National Institute of Building Sciences' Multihazard Mitigation Council that found every $1 spent mitigating potential hazards leads to an average of $4 in future benefits. Because the building code work is just beginning, there’s no cost estimate yet for how much stricter codes would add to construction costs.

The White House will bring a group of government and industry organizations to develop new standards. Some of the initiatives are:

  • ·National Institute of Standards and Technology: Codes and Standards for Resilience to Tornadoes
  • ·U.S. Department of Agriculture: Incorporation of Resilient Building Codes into Rural Housing Programs
  • ·U.S. Department of Transportation: Resilient Design of the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
  • ·Associated General Contractors of America: Provide education and outreach to construction professionals on resiliency initiatives.
  • ·Federal Alliance for Safe Homes: New 2016 national hurricane resilience initiative, #HurricaneStrong, through collaboration with FEMA, NOAA/National Weather Service, The Home Depot, and The Weather Channel
  • ·Laborers' International Union of North America: Department of Labor approved apprenticeship programs to incorporate the latest knowledge to advance resilience and the implementation of building code provisions.
  • ·National Concrete Masonry Association: Develop materials supporting a refined articulation of resilient construction built to survive catastrophic events.

Click here for the White House Fact Sheet on Public and Private Sector Efforts to Increase Community Resilience through Building Codes and Standards.