Dear Editor:

To the citizens of the county – if you think the lack of building codes does not affect you since you aren’t planning on building anything, here is how it absolutely does -

Codes are a health and safety issue. People overwhelmingly assume that buildings today will be structurally sound and meet the fire and life safety requirements of the code. The lack of codes puts future occupants in a potentially unsafe environment, without full understanding of what that means or that they are even in that situation.

Buildings not meeting safety codes place more burden on county and city services, particularly the fire and disaster service, jeopardizing the lives of those in or near the buildings and the emergency personnel.

FEMA’s recent Policy 104-009-4 states that buildings exempt from the building codes may also be exempt from receiving federal disaster assistance funding.

The Idaho Survey and Rating Bureau rates counties and cities based upon levels of building codes and enforcement. If a jurisdiction does not have a building code they receive a higher rating, and could increase some property insurance rates, including yours!

Many financial institutions will no longer finance a building not built to codes because losses in a fire or disaster will be much greater and overall building resilience is not known. Many will require code compliance anyway and require the owner to hire private inspectors.

The appraisal of the building’s value upon sale can be significantly lowered because the appraiser cannot be assured of the building’s quality or durability if not built to current code standards.

Building codes allow for critical updates, clarifications, safety and technology updates and potential cost savings to the owner, that is paid back many times in the increasing value of the building.

In the end codes protect the investments of the owner, the financial institution, the insurance company and the county.

And while there may be a feeling that this move reduces regulations and paperwork for the owner or contractor, it may inadvertently actually create more work in obtaining financing, insurance or if a disaster strikes.

Teri Ottens

Executive Director

Idaho Association of Building Inspectors


The Idaho Association of Building Officials (IDABO) represents over 400 building officials, elected officials, design professionals and contractors in Idaho.

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