Building Code Effectiveness Classifications

Not all communities have equally stringent building codes, nor do all communities enforce their codes with equal vigor. Yet the effectiveness of local building codes can help you predict how well a structure will fare in a hurricane, earthquake, or other natural disaster.

After Hurricane Katrina, photos taken in Louisiana showed completely destroyed homes in the same area as homes with only moderate damage. Homes with superior construction experienced far less damage. FEMA news photo

Building Code Effectiveness Classifications from Verisk's ISO unit, help you distinguish between communities with effective building code enforcement and those with weak enforcement. Municipalities with effective, well-enforced codes demonstrate better loss experience when catastrophe strikes. Buildings located in such communities — constructed according to current codes — experience less severe loss.

A study by Louisiana State University concluded that if Mississippi communities had adopted and enforced the latest building codes, the residential wind damage suffered in Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina would have been 65 percent less. That’s a reduction in losses from $4.8 billion to $1.7 billion.

We collect information on building codes in effect in a particular community and how well the community enforces the codes. We analyze the data using our Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS®) and assign a grade from 1 to 10. Grade 1 represents exemplary commitment to building code enforcement; Grade 10 indicates no recognizable enforcement. Insurers can use the gradings for underwriting and to grant premium credits for buildings constructed under strictly enforced codes.

The BCEGS program encourages the implementation and enforcement of effective building codes, resulting in safer buildings, less damage, and lower insurer costs from catastrophes.

We provide BCEGS classifications in the Community Mitigation Classification (CMC) Manual Plus, an electronic manual delivered through ISOnet®.

Building code information is also available online or on monthly CDs through LOCATION®, Verisk’s risk assessment tool, for all street addresses in 49 states (not available in Idaho or Washington, D.C.).

For more information about Building Code Effectiveness Classifications

  • Call Verisk Customer Support at 1-800-888-4476.
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