NRMCA Reports Progress in Promoting Resilient Construction
There are tremendous public benefits for promoting resilient construction techniques. Resilient construction makes buildings more adaptable to extreme weather events and saves public funds in rebuilding. With names like Katrina, Sandy and Harvey, the federal government has spent billions in unfunded disaster relief in recent decades. Yet, resilient policies are still hindered in the state and federal governments. This summer, as Florida neared the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 1021 into law, which dropped the requirement that the Florida Building Commission update the state code every three years in conjunction with the regular updates to the International Codes. Critics of the bill, which included NRMCA, AIA, FLASH and the Building Officials Association of Florida, lamented that it would ultimately erase the progress that the state has made in creating one of the nation’s most robust building codes.
In August, President Trump issued an executive order that revoked the federal flood risk management standard that would have required federally-funded structures to account for future changes in flood elevation by building above the 100-year flood elevation for standard projects or critical buildings, respectively; or to build to the 500-year flood elevation. NRMCA joined the Build Strong Coalition to urge federally-funded projects to account for natural hazards as they ultimately cost taxpayers more when disaster does hit.
However, there are some signs of progress. Supported by NRMCA advocacy, Mississippi passed Senate Bill 2465 which extends the regulatory incentive and mitigation expense reduction programs for homes meeting FORTIFIED standards to all counties, not just coastal counties at higher risk for hurricanes.
FEMA is also considering creating a “disaster deductible” under which states would need to pay a set amount of their own disaster recovery costs before they could start receiving FEMA reimbursement for the repair and replacement of public infrastructure damaged by a disaster - much like how insurance deductibles work. Through supporting testimony, NRMCA reasoned that a “deductible” would allow states to offset that cost by investing in infrastructure resiliency which reduce ultimate disaster recovery costs for both the state and the federal governments.
Build with Strength, a coalition led by of NRMCA, promotes resilient concrete construction through communications, project promotion, education and advocacy and can help leverage policies to help place more concrete. For more information, contact Tien Peng at email@example.com or 206-913-8535.