Mississippi will soon enact a law that would make homes and businesses around the state more structurally sound. MPB's Paul Boger reports on the new statewide building codes.
Starting in August, there will be a new set of standards dictating how structures are built around Mississippi. Some of those standards include using quality materials, up-to-date electrical systems, and the ability to withstand storm winds. The codes have been one of Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney top priorities.
"When we have had building codes installed and used around the state and cities that have already adopted them, what we have found we know that building codes save lives and it saves property and it also reduces your fire rates." said Chaney.
Some structures like manufactured homes, chicken houses and hunting camps are exempt. It will also create a 120 day window where cities and municipalities can opt out of the code. However, not everyone remains convinced the state should enact the laws all. Representative Toby Barker of Hatiesburg voted against the bill.
"I prefer that local issues like building codes be taken up by the government that's closest to the people." said Barker. "The end result may be good, however, a decision as broad and far reaching as this, I felt was better for our local board of supervisors and city councils to make."
Others have worried that increased building codes would increase the cost of housing in Mississippi. Greg Smith is a homebuilder from Gulfport.
"If you're building the house correctly to start with, the building codes aren't going to add to the price." said Smith. "This thing, this bill will protect all the new home buyers in the state of Mississippi for a long time."
While this is the first time the lawmakers have passed a set of statewide building codes, they previously passed codes for the state's southernmost counties in 2006.