Legislation introduced on Capitol Hill Dec. 12 would provide federal grants to building departments to enhance public safety, according to a press release by the International Code Council.

The Community Building Code Administration Grant Act of 2007, proposed by Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Rep. Dennis Moore of Kansas, would provide $100 million over five years to help local governments hire, train and equip code officials, including building and fire inspectors.

If approved by Congress, the grant act would support hiring and training code officials, with the goal of saving lives and protecting property. It would aid communities that see their resources stretched when they face building booms or major rebuilds after a disaster. Studies show that every dollar invested to build stronger and safer results in savings of $4 to $7 in reduced damages when a disaster occurs, says ICC.

“As the Gulf Coast recovers from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we must ensure that our communities have the necessary funds to comply with safety standards for new public buildings and homes,” Landrieu said. “Currently, no federal funds are designated for building code administration, and as a result, there is widespread lack of enforcement, presenting a major threat to public safety.”

“I firmly believe that this legislation will help ensure the safety of buildings across the country and ultimately will reduce the cost to the American taxpayer after a disaster,” Moore said.

“Code enforcers are on the front lines of public safety. The work they do every day saves lives and protects property,” said International Code Council CEO Rick Weiland.

The Community Building Code Administration Grant Program Act now awaits consideration by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and House Committee on Financial Services.