WASHINGTON–The House passed legislation yesterday creating a national program that provides awards to local governments for building code administration and enforcement.

The legislation introduced by Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., the Community Building Code Administration Grant Act (H.R. 4461), is designed to provide funding for local and state authorities to enact and enforce strong building codes. It was approved by voice vote.

The bill creates a five-year program that authorizes $100 million to go to local governments over that period.

The legislation caps awards at $1 million per recipient, requires recipient communities to match a portion of funds received, and outlines eligible uses of funds and selection criteria, with preference offered to governments in financial distress.

It also allows local and state authority to maintain and enforce their building codes.

Jimi Grande, vice president for federal and political affairs at the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, said the Building Codes Coalition, a group of insurance trade groups which NAMIC helped form, had worked to get the bill through the House.

He added, “Stronger building codes are vital in the effort to protect lives, homes and businesses from the devastating effects of natural disasters.”

Mr. Grande said the money provided through the legislation can also lead to overall savings for American taxpayers.

“Research by the National Institute of Building Sciences indicates that every $1 spent on mitigation at the federal level saves taxpayers $4 in disaster assistance,” he said.

Marc Racicot, president of the American Insurance Association, added that “the evidence is clear and overwhelming that our nation can greatly reduce the disruption of lives and economic losses with the adoption and enforcement of building codes.”