The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS)

 

The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS)

Explaining the need for fire and building codes to business owners and property managers can sometimes be difficult or even confrontational.  Business owners, for example, may be hesitant to make necessary changes that meet code requirements due to financial reasons.  Property managers may be forced to balance scheduled maintenance costs against additional costs for code compliancy.

One thing that will help you with your conversations during inspections is to prepare yourself to explain — in clear, simple terms — how your local code process works and how it ultimately benefits everyone in the community.  Clearly communicating these benefits to your community increases the likelihood of code compliance.  After all, everyone wants a property resilient to damage, free from lawsuits, and with lower insurance costs, right?

One program you should be familiar with and be able to explain during inspections is the Insurance Services Office’s (ISO) Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS®).  This program, which influences your local fire and building codes, is used by the ISO to evaluate how communities enforce their codes through plan reviews and field inspections.

 


How Communities are Classified

The BCEGS program assigns each community a classification from 1 (exemplary commitment to fire and building code enforcement) to 10.  Like the Public Protection Classification, a community with a better BCEGS classification could have lower insurance rates.  A community’s BCEGS classification is based on the following:

  • Current fire and building codes.  The BCEGS program awards more points to communities that adopt current fire and building codes.  Current codes provide the most modern technology for fire and natural hazard mitigation.
  • Retention of the code’s structural provisions.  The BCEGS program encourages a community to keep the intent of the structural provisions of the fire and building codes intact by assigning the maximum points when structural provisions of the codes are unamended.
  • Code official qualifications.  A community can get the maximum benefit when the codes are enforced by well-qualified fire and building officials and by certified and properly trained code enforcers.  The schedule provides credit for qualified code enforcers when they are employed by the community.
  • Contractor qualifications.  Contractors and builders play an integral role in the quality of construction.  The BCEGS program allocates points in recognition that licensing and bonding are steps in the direction of regulating the quality of contractors and builders in the marketplace.
  • Public awareness programs.  These programs play a role in building a more resilient community.  The BCEGS program encourages code officials to make the community aware of fire and building safety.  This section represents 54 percent of the analysis in the BCEGS program.

Messages to share about how fire and building codes benefit your community.  Through rigorous enforcement of fire and building codes, businesses can:

  • Lessen damage from fire and natural hazards.
  • Achieve lower insurance costs.
  • Avoid criminal or civil lawsuits.
  • Prevent loss of revenue or loss of the business entirely.

These are incentives you should stress during your inspections.  The BCEGS program helps businesses in your community to achieve them.

 


BCEGS Program Background

The ISO developed the BCEGS in the early 1990s with significant input from the three model building code groups — the International Conference of Building Officials, the Southern Building Code Congress International, and the Building Officials and Code Administrators International — and with responses to surveys sent to more than 7,500 building officials countrywide.  The ISO implemented the program in 1995.  As of 2018, the ISO has reviewed more than 15,000 fire and building code enforcement departments across the country.

The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS®) assesses community building codes and their enforcement, with special emphasis on mitigation of losses from natural hazards.

Municipalities with well-enforced, up-to-date codes should demonstrate better loss experience, which can be reflected in lower insurance rates. The prospect of lessening catastrophe-related damage and ultimately lowering insurance costs provide an incentive for communities to enforce their building codes rigorously — especially as they relate to windstorm and earthquake damage.

The anticipated benefits are safer buildings, less damage, and lower insured losses from catastrophes. The BCEGS program assesses a community’s building code enforcement in three areas:

  • Code administration
  • Plan review
  • Field inspection

ISO collects 1,243 data points to calculate two scores: One for one- and two-family residential construction and another for commercial or industrial construction. Internal scoring ranges from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 100. For insurance rating guidance, we translate the scores to a scaled class rating of 1 (exemplary commitment to building code enforcement) to 10. The classifications apply to communities under the jurisdiction of each building code department. We provide participating insurers with BCEGS classifications, BCEGS advisory credits, and related underwriting information.

 


Learn more

For more information on any topic related t the Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS®) program, contact our mitigation team via email at BCEGS_info@verisk.com or call our mitigation specialists at 1-800-444-4554.

 


BCEGS Questionnaire

If your community has not yet received a BCEGS grading — or if you’ve recently made improvements in your building code enforcement services — you may be eligible for a BCEGS survey. During that survey, an ISO field representative will use the BCEGS Questionnaire to assist in the evaluation of your community’s resources for code enforcement. ISO will use the information for the purpose of establishing your community’s BCEGS grading.

If you’d like ISO to consider your city, town, or jurisdiction for a BCEGS survey, send your request to your ISO National Processing Center.

If ISO has already scheduled your community for a survey, you can expedite the process by answering the questions in the BCEGS Questionnaire in advance of the ISO field representative’s visit.

Download the BCEGS Questionnaire in Microsoft® Word format, and complete or print it with your own Word software. You can also download just the Employee Data Sheet, which you need to submit for each building code enforcement employee. Or use the online order form to request a copy of the BCEGS Questionnaire. 

Note: Average state classifications and scores are calculated using the latest available BCEGS results from graded communities in each state.  As ISO evaluates communities on a 4-to-5-year recurring cycle, data used in the averages may not be from the same period.  Averages are not weighted, and no community data is counted more than once in the calculation of a state’s average.

 


Follow the links for further information about the BCEGS program:

 


The 2024 Building Codes Adoption Tracking (BCAT) Regional Reports are available now!

Example BCAT ReportFEMA develops the BCAT Regional Reports to provide people nationwide with an overview of the natural hazard-resistant building code adoption status in each state and territory within a FEMA region.

The BCAT Reports show an annual percentage of communities adopting natural hazard-resistant building codes in high-risk flood, damaging wind, hurricane wind, tornado and seismic areas.

States and territories are categorized as either “Higher Resistance,” “Moderate Resistance,” or “Lower Resistance,” and a summary of significant building code adoption information is provided.

Read the Overview for more information.

Nationwide map

 Interested in downloading your area’s report?

Click on the line with your state or territory:

Or download them all!

What’s next?

While FEMA releases these eleven reports annually, the National Building Code Adoption Tracking Portal – updated quarterly – allows users to click on any incorporated jurisdiction or search for any census-recognized jurisdiction to view specific data for that jurisdiction’s building and residential code adoption.

You can find data and notes on:

  • The building codes status of jurisdictions.
  • Which hazard risks (flood, hurricane wind, damaging wind, tornado, and seismic) are present?
  • Which states have mutual agreements? Users can view interstate and intrastate mutual aid layers to review a state or territory’s mutual aid laws.

 

 

 

 

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