PIMA's Justin Koscher: Latest Building Codes Pay Off

Originally published by the following source: Applied Building Technology GroupMay 8, 2019

   

In a recent submission to Building Enclosures Magazine, PIMA president Justin Koscher briefly examines the impact the latest building codes have on making structures more resilient to natural disasters.  Koscher makes the point that natural disasters, and their cost, are trending upward. “According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)… four costliest years in terms of economic loss have all occurred within the last two decades (2018, 2017, 2012 and 2005).”

The solution? Koscher observes, “It is widely recognized that building codes are a crucial element in fostering construction practices that promote more resilient and durable designs for both new construction and existing buildings. It is widely recognized that building codes are a crucial element in fostering construction practices that promote more resilient and durable designs for both new construction and existing buildings.”

Going further, Koscher focuses closely on the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), pointed out that the IECC offers many life saving benefits in the event of a natural disaster by, “retaining the heat or cold in a building (office, hospital, school, or home) during extreme weather or power interruptions, preventing moisture damage and mold, and keeping polluted air out and venting indoor pollutants to the outside.”

Beyond life safety, investment into the latest building codes like the 2018 IECC provides a tangible monetary return. “…the ‘Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2018 Interim Report,’…found a national benefit of $11 for every $1 invested.”

In his concluding thoughts, Koscher emphasizes the importance of strong building code enforcement. “Buildings constructed to meet or exceed modern building and energy codes can therefore play an important role in reducing the overall economic impact of natural disasters...A code is only effective if there is enforcement and inspection to verify that construction is completed according to the code requirements.”

The latest building codes and code resources related to an energy-efficient building envelope have been gathered together here on continuousinsulation.org.