Many commercial property owners equate new building codes with lost time and money. When in truth, most code changes save owners money in the long run - not to mention better protection for the people and property inside from fire, earthquakes and other extreme events.
Modern codes date back to 1897 when fires destroyed many cities overnight. Sanitation issues were also the driving force behind some early codes. Today, natural disasters and concerns about energy security and conservation of natural resources are the impetus behind most code changes.
Extreme weather and fires over the past five years have caused approximately $500 billion in damages in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A study done for the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) found that losses from Hurricane Andrew, which caused $25 billion in insured damage, would have been reduced by 40 percent for commercial properties if they were built in accordance with Florida’s 2004 statewide building code. Another IBHS study following Hurricane Charley found that conformance to current building codes reduced the severity of losses by 42 percent and loss frequency by 60 percent.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) ongoing Building Codes Save (BCS) initiative shows that for California and Florida alone their adoption and enforcement of modern hazard-resistant building codes over the past 20 years indicates a long-term average future savings of $1 billion per year.
If you are considering a renovation, remodel or building from the ground up, make sure you are following the latest codes and standards available. While implementing them now may be a costly endeavor, it will most likely save you money in the long run – and, more importantly, protect the health and safety of your property’s occupants.