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Building Codes Start to Address Community Resilience

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Moore, OK, has become the first U.S. city to require single-family houses to be built to withstand wind speeds of 135 mph - rather than the model International Building Code (IBC) 2009 requirement of 90 mph, reports NRMCA Vice President, Sustainability, Tien Peng. The use of storm shelters and safe rooms as a way to save lives during tornadoes and hurricanes is starting to appear in communities in the wake of record-setting losses this past decade. This is especially true for Moore which experienced tragic weather-related losses in 1999 and 2013.

The increased emphasis on adopting disaster resilient construction initiatives such as community safe rooms to reduce human losses from natural hazards is also starting to appear in the 2015 edition of the IBC, Peng notes. If adopted by jurisdictions, the new code would require schools up to 12th grade with six or more students located in tornado areas to have tornado shelters to meet the ICC 500 Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters.

This is the first time the model code has addressed hazard mitigation. NRMCA supported this proposal in the code hearings in 2012. While not necessarily material specific, safe rooms and other design strategies to minimize damage due to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding and fire typically benefit from the use of concrete. NRMCA has resources to promote resilient thinking at the federal and local level to reduce the overall loss of life and cost of repair. This "toolkit" includes:
• Resilient Construction Incentive Legislation
• Community Planning Strategies 
• Reference Design Standards
• Workshops and Articles

For more information please go to or contact Tien Peng at or 206-913-8535.

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