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.

NAMIC News on Building Codes


Erin Collins
Senior Vice President - State and Policy Affairs