Bipartisan Budget Bill Allows for Tougher Building Codes

bipartisan bill addresses building codes

New bill allows rebuilding of public facilities to higher building codes and standards than the local community has adopted.

According to  the bi-partisan budget bill includes some encouraging provisions that should improve rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Not only are there tens of billions of dollars in much-needed disaster aid, but there are also several provisions that will help ensure that the nation rebuilds in a way that makes us better prepared for future disasters.
The bill also does not include two poison pills that the House had included in the Disaster Supplemental bill they passed in December. A provision was stricken that would have allowed costly Corps of Engineers projects to divert funding from the Hazard Mitigation Grants Program run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which funds efforts to buy out flood-prone properties and home elevations after floods. An attempt to exempt the National Flood Insurance Program from complying with the Endangered Species Act also was left on the cutting room floor. NRDC and many other organizations have been working to knock these provisions out of any disaster aid package.
There are also many provisions that could benefit the nation’s disaster recovery efforts.
One provision would allow FEMA to rebuild public facilities to higher building codes and standards than the local community, state or territory has formally adopted (p. 46-47). This provision would give FEMA the ability to pay to rebuild to recognized industry standards, like the most recent International Building Code or the American Society of Civil Engineers standards for public infrastructure projects. The House bill passed in December included a similar provision. This is a significant improvement over simply restoring service or rebuilding to the pre-disaster condition of public infrastructure, which is as far as FEMA is allowed to go, normally.
Read the full post here.