Mississippians Favor State Building Code; Legislative Support Doubtful

March 28, 2006

More than three-quarters of Mississippians say they favor adoption of a state building code, but a bill now before the Legislature to create such a building code remains in doubt.

The Coalition to Build a Safer and Stronger Mississippi, of which NAMIC is a member, yesterday released the results of a telephone survey of 600 state residents that showed 78 percent of them support adoption of a state building code.

The survey, which was conducted last week by Southern Research Group, also showed that half of the respondents thought their county already had a building code when, in fact, only three of 82 counties in Mississippi have a minimum code. Seventy-four of the respondents also said they would be “angry or concerned” if they learned that their county had no building code in effect. The telephone survey carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

“This survey shows rather conclusively that Mississippi residents understand the value of a state building code in protecting their properties from natural disasters, but most state lawmakers apparently don’t share that same opinion,” David Reddick, NAMIC Senior State Affairs manager said.

Reddick said House and Senate conferees have been named to work out the differences on House Bill 1406.

The bill, as passed out of the House, called for only four counties – Jackson, Harrison, Hancock and Pearl River – to adopt emergency wind and flood building code requirements. The Senate stripped the House bill and inserted language that tracked with the provisions in its initial bill, Senate Bill 2807.

The Senate language calls for adoption of wind and flood building code requirements in eight counties and on a voluntary basis in the rest of the state.

“It remains to be seen whether lawmakers will go with four or eight counties,” Reddick said. “Either scenario is a far cry from having all 82 counties adopt building code standards, but it’s a start, and NAMIC and other groups may be able to build upon that momentum in the years to come.”

Reddick also noted that Gov. Haley Barbour indicated back in February when Senate Bill 2807 passed out of the Senate that he would sign that bill if it was submitted to him.

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