The U.S. Congress passed the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) and the Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2018 as part a broader package of legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration’s activities (H.R. 302). The International Code Council worked closely with its members, partners, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Congress on this critical legislation to support U.S. communities before and after a disaster.
The DRRA provides new resources for both pre- and post- disaster mitigation and supports the adoption and implementation of modern building codes, such as the International Codes (I-Codes), the most widely used and adopted set of building codes in the world. The damage caused by Hurricane Florence and its aftermath in North and South Carolina underscore the importance of this legislation. Studies consistently show that the adoption and implementation of current building codes is one of the nation’s strongest defenses against natural disasters and is a cost effective way of protecting what for many is their most important investment – their home or business.
Under the DRRA, pre-disaster mitigation grant funding is expected to quadruple, and communities adopting and enforcing modern codes would be more competitive applicants for that funding. The legislation would also aid communities that—for lack of resources—have not updated their codes to more recent editions or are not enforcing the codes they have in place by permitting, for the first time, pre-disaster mitigation grants to be used for modern code adoption and enforcement. The broader legislative package also provides $1.68 billion to be distributed through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Community Development Block Grants for areas impacted by disasters in 2018. Communities may use these funds to bolster code enforcement efforts, and HUD has historically required grantees to demonstrate a commitment to supporting the adoption and enforcement of modern codes.
“We’re glad to see Congress boost federal resources for the communities recovering from recent disasters,” said Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. “This legislation also helps code officials and communities prepare for the future. Pre-disaster mitigation starts with the codes. The funds provided through the DRRA for updated building codes, adoption and implementation are essential for protecting our families, our lives and our investments.”
For resources on building codes and disaster mitigation, click here.