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As the nation’s institutional and commercial facilities face growing threats from natural disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes and climate change, the federal government is taking steps to ensure building codes help drive state and local governments to maximize the resilience of facilities and communities.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently released a new building codes strategy, defining the goals and objectives it will pursue to promote the application, adoption and enforcement of hazard-resistant building codes across the United States. This first-of-its kind strategy focuses on three core goals:
The goals will drive coordination and prioritize the agency’s activities to advance the adoption and enforcement of hazard-resistant building codes and standards for FEMA programs and communities nationwide.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell announced the strategy at this year’s National Hurricane Conference, where she described hazard-resistant codes as “a cornerstone of loss reduction,” that “save property, but more importantly, they save lives.”
In the new strategy, FEMA highlights several building codes, specifications, and standards – including nine International Codes and two International Code Council standards. The strategy works towards internal alignment of priorities and practices across all of FEMA’s programs related to building codes and acts as a guide, both inside and outside of the agency, to promote consistency and the value of building codes towards disaster mitigation.
Building off the FEMA-wide approach to building codes outlined in the strategy, the agency is supporting alignment across the federal government on building codes and standards to include all agencies and departments that reference codes and standards in their programs and to encourage the adoption and implementation of hazard-resistant codes at all levels of government, working with private sector partners, including the Code Council and others, to execute these efforts nationwide.
Dan Hounsell is senior editor, facility group.