Our Positions | Building Codes

Research has shown that uniform statewide adoption and enforcement of model building codes helps eliminate long-term risks affecting people, property, the environment, and ultimately the economy. Through the cutting-edge scientific research of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, it has been shown that small tweaks to building codes, such as using roof straps or ring-shank nails, can be the difference between a home standing or completely destroyed in the wake of a weather catastrophe.

But the increasing reliance on the federal government to cover post-disaster losses has created a moral hazard of states not ensuring homes and businesses are built resiliently, leaving millions of Americans vulnerable to the next disaster. Because they have every reason to assume that almost all of their post-disaster costs will be covered by the federal government, only a dozen or so states have currently adopted and are enforcing construction standards in line with one of the last three iterations of model building codes. Further, most states do not have the adequate amount of resources to operate a comprehensive inspection regime. This means that the majority of the nation is stuck in an endless cycle of destruction, where homes and businesses are rebuilt after a disaster to the same subpar standards that led to their destruction.

The growing role of the federal government in financing post-disaster costs is also creating the dangerous, but ever-pervasive, false assumption that Federal Emergency Management Agency has a never-ending supply of cash to cover the cost of post-disaster recovery. This is discouraging individuals from adequately protecting themselves from loss or liability that could be suffered during a catastrophe. Ultimately, a larger pool of uninsured victims will be created, dangerously exposing them to financial loss after the next disaster.

In 2011, NAMIC created the BuildStrong Coalition to bring together a group of firefighters, emergency responders, insurers, engineers, architects, contractors, manufacturers, consumer organizations, and code specialists to advocate for policy designed to encourage stronger construction.

NAMIC Position

NAMIC supports state and federal legislation that encourages the adoption and enforcement of strong building codes. Stronger, safer homes and buildings for Americans can save lives and reduce loss, thereby reducing the need for public disaster aid. NAMIC and the BuildStrong Coalition support the creation of a separate, federal financial incentive for states that adopt and enforce statewide building codes. Legislation promising greater post-event aid for those states with strong building codes can serve as a powerful incentive to state governments.

FEMA Releases New Materials Outlining BRIC Eligible Activities, Including Stronger Building Codes

August 24, 2020 The Federal Emergency Management Agency has released new supporting materials to help applicants and stakeholders in the development of successful grant applications in response to the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities’ Notice of... Read more

California: Controversial ALE, Building Codes Upgrade, Loss of Use, Deduction of Land Value Bill Passes Out of Committee – COST IMPACT DATA NEEDED FROM MEMBERS

May 19, 2020 SB 872, Residential property insurance: state of emergency, sponsored by Sens. Bill Dodd and Mike McGuire, has passed out of the Senate Insurance Committee on a 9-2 vote. NAMIC, in conjunction with its state advocacy partners... Read more

NAMIC Applauds FEMA Guidance Creating New Program to Help Communities Prepare for Disasters

April 13, 2020 The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies today applauded the guidance recently proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that takes a significant step forward in helping communities protect themselves from natural disaster and... Read more

FEMA Administrator Discusses Building Codes, Mitigation, Flood Insurance During Hearing

March 16, 2020 During a March 11 hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, Pete Gaynor, the newly confirmed administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency... Read more

California: Mandatory Building Code Upgrades Insurance Coverage Bill Introduced – FEEDBACK REQUESTED

March 3, 2020 Assemblymember Richard Bloom has introduced AB 2436, Residential Property Insurance. The bill has been assigned to the Assembly Insurance Committee for a public hearing on March 21... Read more


Andrew Huff
Senior Director of Federal Affairs