Starting May 1, the International Code Council, together with corporations, government agencies, professional associations and nonprofits, celebrates the 39th annual Building Safety Month. The international campaign raises awareness about building safety and the importance of building codes in making our communities safer and more resilient. This year, the Code Council will be exploring the roles building codes play in our day-to-day lives, including disaster mitigation, access to safe water, job opportunities in the building industry, and innovations in building safety.
To kick off this year’s Building Safety Month, the focus for week one is “Preparing for Disasters: Build Strong, Build Smart.” Natural disasters are increasing in severity and frequency. Helping individuals and community leaders plan in advance for events like hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires and earthquakes saves lives and mitigates costly damages.
One of the most effective ways to prepare for disasters is adopting the most up-to-date building codes, which are crucial for ensuring the resilience of our structures. Not only does building to code keep people safer, it is also a smart investment: a recent report from the National Institute for Building Sciences found that municipalities that have adopted the 2018 International Codes can expect to save $11 for every $1 invested in bringing buildings and physical structures up to code. In addition, home and business owners can take a number of common-sense steps to protect their properties in advance of a natural disaster.
“Building failures due to improper construction often end tragically, such as lost lives and economic distress, especially when natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes strike,” said Jeff Ellis, Engineering Manager, Codes & Compliance, Simpson Strong-Tie, a Building Safety Month sponsor. “But in places where more robust and modern codes are properly followed, there is much less damage and fewer lives lost. With more public understanding and support for good codes, compliant design and code enforcement, we can do even better.”
Other strategies for increasing the resilience of structures include using durable materials designed to withstand extreme weather. Tara Mattina, Director of the Marketing Communications Division of APA – The Engineered Wood Association, a Building Safety Month sponsor, commented, “We share the Code Council’s commitment to building safety, and the APA works to educate code officials and designers on the integrity of structural engineered wood products in creating durable, sustainable, resilient communities.”
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) also supports Building Safety Month and is highlighting the importance of resilient structures: “Today the built environment is subject to a number of shocks and stresses from climate change, environmental degradation, age and other forces,” said AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA. "Designing safe and resilient buildings is more important than ever before. The American Institute of Architects and its members are committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of people inhabiting buildings around the world.”
ISO, a leading provider of information about risk to the property and casualty insurance industry, is also a sponsor of week one of Building Safety Month. “The theme ‘Build Strong, Build Smart’ has a direct relationship to our efforts to provide insurers with informed decisions about risk,” said Dale K. Thomure, ISO’s Manager of Community Hazard Mitigation. “Building code enforcement is the first line of defense against damage from disasters, and we are committed to working together for safer communities.
Learn more about Building Safety Month and how to get involved at www.buildingsafetymonth.org, and join the conversation on social media using #BuildingSafety365. To stay updated about Building Safety Month events near you, visit the online calendar.