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Aug 2022

US to modernise its building codes

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Jul 2022

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has launched a new initiative to modernise its building codes so that communities can be more resilient to hurricanes, flooding, wildfires and other extreme weather events that are intensifying due to climate change.
 
At present nearly two out of every three communities in the US have outdated building codes and, as a result, are vulnerable to climate impacts and higher energy costs according to FEMA. The new initiative will help state, local, tribal, and territorial governments adopt the new building codes and standards, enabling communities to be more resilient to extreme weather events that are intensifying due to climate change.
 
Updated building codes provide a range of smart design and construction methods ‘that save lives, reduce property damage, and lower utility bills’, according to the National Initiative to Advance Building Codes. It applies to new construction and to homes and buildings that are rebuilt due to damage. The adoption of hazard resistant building codes saves communities $11 per every $1 invested according to a new study.
 
The new programme is designed to help buildings withstand damage caused by all natural disasters, including wildfires, tornadoes and floods.
 
Education will be an important element in the new initiative. A FEMA analysis has revealed that only 35% of cities, counties and towns across the country have updated hazard-resistant building codes. Construction and renovation designed for disaster-resiliency can be more expensive. But the estimated savings for typical households in utility bills alone could be about $162 per year.
 
On a larger scale it is estimated that communities that have adopted modern building codes are already saving an estimated $1.6bn a year in avoided damage from major disasters. This equates to a cumulative $132bn through 2040 that won’t have to be spent on disaster recovery. M 
 

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