U.S. Building Codes Show Significant Improvement Among States Participating in ISO’s Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule Program

Improved codes and enforcement enhance community safety standards and lower insurance loss experience

JERSEY CITY, N.J., October 4, 2016 — Building code adoption and enforcement have improved in more than 70 percent of U.S. states tracked, according to a new ISO analysis of the nation’s code enforcement. From 2005 to 2015, 31 states improved, 3 were unchanged, and 8 did not score as well. ISO is a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business.

ISO Community Hazard Mitigation works with local code enforcement agencies, evaluating building code effectiveness and assigning participating communities a Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS®) class of 1 (exemplary building code enforcement) to 10. The program includes 20,800 communities representing 87 percent of the U.S. population. The analysis of BCEGS classifications for residential and commercial code enforcement covered 43 states with sufficient data for analysis.

“We know that municipalities with well-enforced, up-to-date codes demonstrate better loss experience, and insurance rates can reflect that,” said Dale Thomure, CBO, CFM, manager, ISO Community Hazard Mitigation. “The prospect of lessening catastrophe-related damage and ultimately lowering insurance costs provides an incentive for communities to adopt the most stringent and appropriate code for their area and back it up with rigorous enforcement.”

The most improved states were California and Oregon, which jumped three classes from Class 6 to Class 3 in both residential and commercial building categories, and Georgia, which went from Class 7 to Class 5 in residential and commercial. New Mexico and Pennsylvania improved from a Class 6 to a 4, and Delaware, Maine, and West Virginia advanced from a Class 7 to a 5 in both residential and commercial codes. Complete data and maps are available here.

“Adopting and enforcing increasingly more stringent building codes are not easy tasks for many communities,” said Thomure. “But this is solid evidence that more effective codes are being adopted and effectively enforced across the nation. We’re proud to work with so many communities toward our common goal of safer buildings, less damage, and lower insured losses from catastrophes and other weather-related events.”

As part of the BCEGS program, the ISO Community Hazard Mitigation staff collects 1,243 data points that detail the extent and capabilities of each graded community’s residential and commercial building code adoption and enforcement. The data includes adopted codes, local building department staffing levels, certifications, training, workload, administration, department review of construction documents for code compliance, and field inspection programs.

We provide participating communities specific information related to their community and license the data to insurers. Information about ISO Community Hazard Mitigation is available at www.isomitigation.com.

About ISO
Since 1971, ISO has been a leading source of information about property/casualty insurance risk. For a broad spectrum of commercial and personal lines of insurance, ISO provides statistical, actuarial, underwriting, and claims information and analytics; compliance and fraud identification tools; policy language; information about specific locations; and technical services. ISO serves insurers, reinsurers, agents and brokers, insurance regulators, risk managers, and other participants in the property/casualty insurance marketplace. ISO is a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business. For more information, visit www.verisk.com/iso and www.verisk.com.


Giuseppe Barone/Colleen Finley
MWW Group (for ISO)

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