A fire-hazard rating agency says that if the city doesn’t improve its building codes and conduct more inspections, property owners in Pine Bluff, Ark., may be paying higher insurance rates.
Insurance Services Office Inc. of Chicago, which rates municipal building codes for insurance purposes, has given the city of Pine Bluff a year to upgrade its codes or see a drop in its rating.
The best rating is one. ISO has said it will drop Pine Bluff from an eight to a nine if changes aren’t made.
Bill Glover, director of the Zoning and Inspection Department for the city, says he is shooting even higher. He wants to improve the city’s building-code rating to a three or four.
“We’re going to try to get better than we were before,” Glover said. “Number one is as high as you can go. In the past, we’ve been a class eight.”
Glover said he has been trying for three years to get the city council to adopt the 2000 International Building Code. Pine Bluff has been using the Southern Building Code, and the city’s code is 10 years out of date. In addition, the department has seen a reduction in building inspectors and the city lacks a plan review on residential property.
Glover said the building codes will have to be updated and the number of inspections of new buildings increased. Also, he said, his department will need to spend more money on training.
The city was given until Aug. 16 to provide ISO with a plan on how Pine Bluff will improve the building code rating. The company said in a May 16 letter that it wouldn’t lower the rating if the city makes changes within a year.
The classifications are used by property and casualty insurance companies to help determine insurance coverage. Insurers also use the ratings to offer insurance premium discounts to eligible properties.
Information from: Pine Bluff Commercial, www.pbcommercial.com.
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