“Viewpoint: Building code adoption and enforcement trends suggest decreasing safety”

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Dec 12, 2011

Ralph Dorio, Community Hazard Mitigation Manager at Insurance Services Offices (ISO), identifies a troubling trend to decrease safety in adopted building codes in the above titled op-ed piece for American City & County magazine 

Mr. Dorio opines that “the importance of communities adopting and enforcing the latest codes is particularly evident in the 2009 residential code — the first to require the installation of residential fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family dwellings.” He presents as evidence the decrease by 80 percent in fire loss from communities that have adopted the regulation; adding that these communities “have not had a loss of life fire in a residence with fire sprinklers.” He also advises local officials “to make critical decisions to retain the integrity of the essential mission of code administration.” He goes on to add; “ISO continues to monitor, evaluate and report the status of code effectiveness to insurers and the building code community."

A previous post on this blog titled Home Fire Sprinklers: ISO Facts  provided an expanded evaluation of the possible impact on communities that amend the model codes to exclude the home fire sprinkler requirement. Several communities' have alreday been affected during ISO's reviews that cite the jurisdictions' failure to adopt the residential sprinkler section of the 2009 IRC as one of the contributing factors to a regression in ratings.

Mr. Dorio's commentary emphasizes how important it is for insurers to track those trends carefully with the Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) program, concluding that “the future of code effectiveness may well hang in the balance.” 

Click here to visit ISO's hazard mitigation website 

Maria Figueroa