Mississippi Governor Signs Building Code Legislation into Law

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has signed HB1406 and HB1440 into law, paving the way for the establishment of mandatory minimum building codes in Mississippi. The founding members of the Coalition to Build a Safer and Stronger Mississippi, including representatives from Solutia Inc., attended the signing ceremony and urged other industry members to participate in building code training sessions throughout the state.

"It is tremendously reassuring that Mississippi has recognized the need to provide its residents and their property with a minimum level of protection against hurricanes and floods," said Nanette Lockwood, legislative affairs manager at Solutia Inc. "The steps that the legislature and governor have taken put the state on the path toward establishing minimum building codes which, if adopted by more cities and counties throughout the state, would provide for durability and protection against structural fire, tornados and earthquakes."

While neither bill fully establishes a statewide minimum building code, both make significant advancements toward the goal of protecting people and property throughout the state. HB1406 sets up the Mississippi State Building Code and forms the Building Code Council. Five counties, including all counties in the wind-borne debris region (except George), are subject to mandatory enforcement of the wind and flood provisions of the 2003 International Building and Residential Codes within 30 days. Counties may opt out within the first 60 days, but that is not anticipated, according to a statement from Solutia. Other jurisdictions may enforce these codes as well, but enforcement elsewhere is not mandatory.

HB1440 requires any state-owned facility, including schools, built after July 1, 2006, to comply with the International Building Code.

"This is a fantastic first step for Mississippi," said Lockwood. "However, it is only the beginning. While talking with legislators this session, it became clear that building regulation is not something Mississippi welcomes. Implementing building codes is not easy. We are urging industry members to get involved as soon as possible by providing training for builders, architects and building departments to help them learn how to correctly specify and inspect glazing products."

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