JOHNSTON, R.I., USA—FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers, today released a new edition of the world’s most comprehensive guide to national building codes. The 2016 FM Global Country Building Codes Index helps companies assess construction requirements, safety environments and overall resilience in the geographies where they may do business.
A reflection of the insurer’s 180-year commitment to property loss prevention, the Index is a PDF document that links directly to the known building codes of nearly 130 countries. It also helps companies determine whether or not a code exists in a particular nation. The 2016 FM Global Country Building Codes Index is a companion to the newly released 2016 FM Global Resilience Index, which ranks the same countries by their business resilience to supply chain disruption.
“Building codes and their enforcement are important because substandard construction often leads to injury, death, property loss, business disruption, financial harm and economic turmoil,” said Brion Callori, senior vice president of engineering and research at FM Global. “Strong codes can help communities and businesses be more resilient to fire, flood, earthquake and windstorms. While some countries are making progress, we are actively encouraging more countries to adopt better codes and standards in order to improve their standard of living.”
The 2016 FM Global Country Building Codes Index is produced in cooperation with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and is publicly available for no charge.
High cost of poor codes
Fragility of construction methods has been blamed for making buildings “weapons of mass destruction” if they collapse in a fire or weather event. For example, recent deadly earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador “are a reminder of how important it is that we apply the highest standards possible when building in earthquake zones,” Robert Glasser, United Nations special representative for disaster risk reduction, said recently.
Providing worldwide leadership for the improvement of building codes and standards, FM Global employs an international codes and standards group with experts in Brazil, China, India, Paris and the United Kingdom (UK).
In 2011, the group helped form the nonprofit Brazilian Sprinkler Institute (ISB), which aims to strengthen building codes related to fire, the costliest commercial property risk. The codes and standards group that same year helped form the Mexican Sprinkler Association.
In 2010 in the UK, FM Global helped establish the Business Sprinkler Alliance with fire chiefs and other sprinkler advocates. Later, it helped ensure that a 30-story student building at the University of Portsmouth, UK, was built with automatic sprinklers.
Quality makes a difference
Shifting global business trends spotlight the need for an understanding of codes throughout the world. For example, foreign direct investment to India increased by 29 percent from October 2014 through December 2015. The country is currently ranked 110th in risk quality, according to the 2016 FM Global Resilience Index.
Meanwhile, strong building codes have been credited with softening the impact of events as devastating as the Fukushima, Japan, earthquake and tsunami. In fact, every dollar spent on natural hazard mitigation saves society US$4, according to a National Institute of Building Sciences Multi-Hazard Mitigation Council study.
FM Global’s clients have demonstrated the value of the company’s own strong building standards. Properties that are poorly protected experience losses seven times as often and 30 times larger than well-protected properties, according to the company’s internal data.
“The 2016 FM Global Country Building Codes Index, a reflection of FM Global’s commitment to construction quality, is the easiest way to find national building codes in one place,” said Donald P. Bliss, NFPA vice president of field operations. “Using and enforcing the latest building codes are essential. The index makes it simple for others to access this critical information.”
About FM Global
Established nearly two centuries ago, FM Global is a mutual insurance company whose capital, scientific research capability and engineering expertise are solely dedicated to property risk management and the resilience of its client-owners. These owners, who share the belief that the majority of property loss is preventable, represent many of the world’s largest organizations, including one of every three Fortune 1000 companies. They work with FM Global to better understand the hazards that can impact their business continuity in order to make cost-effective risk management decisions, combining property loss prevention with insurance protection.