Tougher building codes save money in the long run

E010113A study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shows that the adoption of modern building codes is averting over a billion dollars a year in structural damage in California and Florida alone. The preliminary findings of this first-of-its-kind study are expected to be formally released in August.

The study calculates how much damage has been avoided so far by the adoption of tougher building codes. Local governments often cite increased construction costs as a reason not to adopt more modern building codes. This study looks at newer buildings constructed under modern codes and determines how much damage they would have sustained from flooding, hurricane winds, and earthquakes if they had been built to older standards. The study is part of FEMA’s broader effort to reduce the growing costs of natural disasters by convincing states and municipalities to adopt modern codes.

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