Congressional Support Builds for Building Code Grant

Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, along with Representatives John Boozman (R-Ark.)‚ Michael Capuano (D-Mass.)‚ Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Robert Scott (D-Va.) and Pete Stark (D-Calif.) are the latest co-sponsors of the Community Building Code Administration Grant Act of 2007 (CBCAG). If approved, CBCAG funds would be dedicated to training "First Preventers"--building and fire safety officials who prevent harm by ensuring compliance with safety codes before disasters occur. The bill would make possible recruitment and training in under-served communities in greatest need of officials to assure safety through code compliance.

"In so many communities, there simply aren’t enough resources for building safety," said International Code Council CEO Rick Weiland. "You can adopt codes, but if you don’t have trained people on the ground to ensure compliance and provide support, it doesn’t matter."

The CBCAG authorizes a competitive grant through the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help local governments hire, train, and equip code officials to save lives and protect property. Introduced last December by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), the CBCAG would aid communities that see their resources over-stretched--or lack resources altogether in the face of building booms or major rebuilds after a disaster.

"I firmly believe that this legislation will help ensure the safety of buildings across the country and ultimately will reduce the cost to the American taxpayer after a disaster," said Moore. "Responsible building codes are a wise investment and the right thing to do for our communities, which is why I appreciate the Chairman’s support of this important initiative and look forward to working with him in the future to try to advance this legislation through the House."

Code Council President Steve Shapiro, director of Codes Compliance for Hampton, Va., added, "It's been proven over and over again that houses built to code and inspected properly stand up to natural disasters. Studies show that every federal tax dollar spent on mitigation grants saves the community four dollars in recovery and rebuilding costs."

The CBCAG currently awaits action by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. For more information, visit iccsafe.org/code-grant.

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