WASHINGTON, D.C.—Last December, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Rep. Dennis Moore of Kansas introduced the Community Building Code Administration Grant Act of 2007, to provide federal grants to building departments to enhance public safety. The grant would provide $100 million over five years to help local governments hire, train, and equip code officials, including building and fire inspectors.
"Too often, especially in smaller communities, there simply aren’t sufficient resources for building safety," said International Code Council CEO Rick Weiland. "The Code Council has long recognized this need and applauds the vision of Sen. Landrieu and Rep. Moore for taking the lead in this important effort to provide much-needed funds to local code enforcement departments. Safety in homes, schools, and all buildings for children, adults, and seniors is a priority of every community in America. Congress is stepping forward to act on that priority. Better building through better code enforcement is clearly in the best interests of our country and every community in it."
If approved by Congress, the Community Building Code Administration Grant Act would support the hiring and training of code officials to save lives and protect property. It would aid communities that see their resources stretched when they face building booms or major rebuilds after a disaster. Studies show that every dollar invested to build stronger and safer results in savings of $4 to $7 in reduced damages when a disaster occurs.
"As the Gulf Coast recovers from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we must ensure that our communities have the necessary funds to comply with safety standards for new public buildings and homes," Landrieu said. "Currently, no federal funds are designated for building code administration, and as a result, there is widespread lack of enforcement, presenting a major threat to public safety."
"Code enforcers are on the front lines of public safety. The work they do every day saves lives and protects property," Weiland said.
The Community Building Code Administration Grant Program Act now awaits consideration by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the House Committee on Financial Services.