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Codes and Standards

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This post is addressed primarily to the building department and public
works personnel who are members of this list.  Engineers who have public
entities as clients will be interested in this as well.

Under FEMA's Public Assistance (public as in govermental entities) program
repair criteria could be developed after the occurrence of the event and
prior to FEMA's approval of the project for federal funds.  Recently, FEMA
issued a new policy on Codes and Standards which becomes effective January
1, 1999 for local government and January 1, 2000 for State government.

Under this policy, repair standards must be in place ON OR BEFORE THE DATE
OF DIASTER DECLARATION (this would be the date that the President declares
an area has suffered a major disaster).  Further, these standards must be:

1)  In writting; and
2)  Be formally adopted by the jurisdiction;

Guidelines to what FEMA considers as applicable codes and standards
indicate that the provisions must:

1)  provide objective triggers (not subjective); and
2)  must be reasonable.

The determination of reasonable (when considering federal disaster relief
funds) will be made by FEMA.  If they believe the triggers and/or the
criteria are not reasonable (from their standpoint) they will determine
that the standard is not eligible.  Their development of scopes of work for
repairs will not consider the criteria established by the jurisdiction.

It is important that governments begin to consider comprehensive repair
requirements for all kinds of disasters impacting all kinds of facilities.