President Bush has signed H.R. 1646, legislation that authorizes appropriations for improved building construction codes and practices in Ecuador, El Salvador and other Latin American countries. The new law enables NFPA to expand its efforts in Latin America by participating in the federal program for improvement of building, construction and life safety in the built environment in these countries.

Specifically, the legislation authorizes the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide grants or enter contracts with organizations that develop codes and standards that address building and construction needs in the eligible countries. NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code, NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, NFPA 70, National Electrical Code, and others are likely prospects for the program, which may include translation and distribution of codes and standards, as well as training of building professionals.

“NFPA worked closely with leaders in both the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to develop language that would ensure that U.S. codes and standards development organizations eligible to participate in the program included voluntary consensus organizations that are accredited by the American National Standards Institute,” said James Shannon, NFPA’s president and CEO. “NFPA’s process, long accredited by ANSI, produces more than 300 codes and standards used across the U.S. and around the world.”