Some of the Economics of Building Codes

Adopting new materials and technologies reduce water and energy usage, and over the life of the building can save many times the initial costs of adopting them; in other words, modern codes are a good investment. State-of-the art building codes are opposed by many, especially builders, because they can increase the initial cost of a building. But they are good investments for owners, communities, and society as a whole.

The benefits of new building standards can be delayed by slow adoption of new codes and poor enforcement of codes by communities. This was another lesson learned from the recent Mexico earthquakes. There were good codes in place, but they were not uniformly enforced and many of the buildings that failed were not up to code. Money was saved in their construction, and lives were lost.