Adopting, Updating Building Codes
Is Critically Important

A disturbing trend: Opponents of timely building code adoptions have tried to convince lawmakers that there is no harm in switching from a three-year to a longer, six-year (or more) update cycle. They argue that it provides a cost savings with no offsetting harm to the overall construction in those states. Some states and jurisdictions, like Minnesota and North Carolina, have elongated code adoption from three to six, or even nine years. These extended code cycles not only leave citizens without the benefit of current model building codes, but also impede the disaster safety movement’s goal of rapidly incorporating beneficial, post-disaster findings into model codes.

Recently, NRMCA’s state and local Government Affairs team sat in a hearing in Maryland's capital, Annapolis, and heard testimony on a bill that would have allowed Washington County to move from the state mandated three-year code adoption cycle to a six-year cycle. The argument was, simply put, that it was expensive and a hassle to update building codes triennially. Code officials from the county in question and homebuilders testified in support. Many national groups, including the International Code Council, were in opposition. The bill died in committee for what NRMCA sees as obvious reasons.

Equally troubling was a recent amendment made by the Florida Homebuilders Association that convinced a few state legislators that it would be a good idea to extend the update cycle for the entire state’s building code from a three-year to a six-year cycle. This was done quietly as the bill headed into its last hearing and then on to the House floor for a vote. Senate Bill 704 was set to follow the same route. It’s important to note that when legislation is made quietly and at the last minute, it’s often because the action cannot hold up under public scrutiny. Luckily, the bill amendment in Florida was defeated by advocates at the last minute. But if any legislator can be convinced that we don’t need to maintain current building codes, shockingly even in the most high-risk hurricane state, then we are not only forgetting history, but we are dooming ourselves to repeat it.

It is incumbent for our state affiliates to remain vigilant to all pieces of legislation that might affect our members. To that end, NRMCA has developed a new advocacy program for buildings. Please visit to see our new public affairs resources for low to mid-rise construction. NRMCA also has resources to help members and state affiliates advocate for resilient and safe construction including developing legislation, talking points, public relations and other key strategies.

To learn more about how NRMCA can assist in state advocacy, contact Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs John Loyer at 703-675-7603 or

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