The hurricane recovery effort in Louisiana received a much needed financial boost recently from the state as it continues implementing the statewide building code, the American Insurance Association reported. A legislative panel has approved the Louisiana Recovery Authority’s (LRA) plan to provide $14 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds to local governments as they implement the new statewide building code enacted in November 2005.
“This is a giant step forward for the state of Louisiana,” said John Marlow, AIA assistant vice president, Southwest Region. “These funds will ensure that the implementation of the statewide building code program does not lose momentum and fall behind schedule in the cities, towns and parishes due to a lack of funding. Now local governments will receive assistance from additional inspectors and reviewers, long-term training for inspectors, and administrative support for the program.”
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee’s funding package includes:
–$3.6 million to assist the 11 parishes already enforcing the code with certified inspectors from IBTS (Institute for Building and Technology Safety);
–$500,000 for training to certify inspectors to fill long-term needs;
–$9.4 millon for initial office setup of code offices and training in seven regional areas, or to use existing large municipality code offices and expand technology and the amount of certified staff; and,
–$500,000 for the Fire Marshall to hire additional commercial plan reviewers for code.
“Louisiana is the first state to implement a statewide building code that will benefit all Louisiana citizens. Effective enforcement of these codes will not only save lives, but also reduce both routine and catastrophic losses. From a community perspective, mitigation – through modern building codes for new construction and by retrofitting the existing built environment – can make the difference between a community recovering relatively quickly from disaster (with citizens returning to homes and jobs) and a community remaining devastated and economically stagnant for many months or longer,” continued Marlow.
The full Legislature will consider the measure by mail ballot in the coming weeks. Should it pass, the LRA will work closely with the Louisiana Municipal Association and the Louisiana Policy Jury Associations to implement the new code.
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