Congressional bill addresses safety in building codes

Testifying before Congress about a lack of safe building codes in some states, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety urged legislators to pass a bill that would provide incentives for adopting updates to the International Residential Code (IRC).

“Every region of our country is vulnerable to one or more potentially devastating natural hazards, which is why improving disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery must be a national priority,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “HR 2069 is important legislation that provides a vehicle to put scientific knowledge about the proven benefits of building codes to work, which will significantly improve our nation’s safety and resilience.” 

Also called the “Safe Building Code Incentive Act,” HR 2069 would provide qualifying states with an additional 4% of funding available for post-disaster assistance if they adopt and enforce the IRC from one of the last two cycles it was updated, which are 2012 and 2009. 

Specifically, Rochman mentioned the importance of a continuous load path in the construction of residential and commercial buildings and the need for strapping to connect the roof to the foundation.

Rochman also showed the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee a video of wood-frame houses being subjected to wind speeds and gusts up to 120 mph at the IBHS Research Center. During this test, the roof of the home built using conventional construction practices lifted off entirely under the force of about 95 mph winds. The loss of the roof caused total destruction of the home only moments later.

The IBHS recently evaluated the building codes in 18 hurricane-prone states along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico. The resulting report, “Rating the States: An Assessment of Residential Building Code and Enforcement Systems for Life Safety and Property Protection in Hurricane-Prone Regions,” can be viewed by clicking here.