Donation to Help Storm-Ravaged La. Parishes With New Building Codes

January 12, 2006

New, tougher building codes go into effect in March for all Louisiana’s coastal parishes, and a recent donation should help public officials interpret and enforce them.

The Legislature passed a law in November 2005 creating a system to implement a statewide building code Jan. 1. 2007, with the earlier deadline this year for parishes at the highest risk of flooding. The law was passed in hopes that future hurricanes won’t do as much wind and flood damage as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita if buildings are constructed to withstand winds up to 140 mph.

Rep. Gil Pinac, D-Crowley, a sponsor of the legislation, said the code would have saved roughly $8 billion in cleanup and recovery costs if it had been in place before the storms.

Recently, the group that developed the code for use worldwide donated bound copies to be distributed to officials in the 11 coastal parish hardest hit by the storms. The group, the International Code Council Foundation, is also opening a Louisiana office to help with the recovery effort, president Paul Myers said.

The new law stipulated that the code goes into effect for all those 11 parishes by March 1. They are Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Terrebonne and Vermilion parishes.

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