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Not all communities have building codes, nor do all communities enforce their codes with equal commitment. Yet the effectiveness of local building codes can have a profound effect on how the structures in a community will fare in a natural disaster. According to the Insurance Services Office, studies conducted following recent natural disasters concluded that total losses might have been as much as 50% less if all structure in the area had met current building codes. Building-code enforcement can have a major influence on the economic well-being of a community and the safety of its citizens.
In the summer of 2017, the Insurance Services Office conducted a site visit of the City of Russell for the purpose of assigning a Building Code Effectiveness Classification. A numeric Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) is assigned to each community following an extensive evaluation of the city’s building-code adoption and enforcement services; administration of codes (54 percent), plan review (23 percent) and field inspections (23 percent). A class 1 rating is the highest BCEGS and represents exemplary commitment to building-code enforcement.
At the conclusion of this evaluation, the Insurance Services Office upgraded the City’s Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule from a Class 10 to a Class 5, putting the city in the top 20 percent of the state in terms of building code effectiveness.
The BCEGS rating upgrade would not have been possible without the commitment and support of the City Council and a sustained cooperative effort by our Building, Planning and Zoning Department led by Roger Sells and our Fire Department led by Fire Chief Shane Preston according to Russell City Manager Jon Quinday.
"I am very proud of our team for their hard work and dedication. While our new classification may lead to reduced property insurance rates, it is the City's efforts to mitigate property damage due to natural disasters and potentially save lives that is of the utmost importance," said Quinday.