Preparing for disaster: Rockford thinks regional building code c - – Rockford’s News Leader

Preparing for disaster: Rockford thinks regional building code could make a difference

Washington, IL file phofo Nov. 2013 Washington, IL file phofo Nov. 2013

When a disaster like a tornado hits, you probably aren't thinking about your building code. But when it comes to getting back into your home, the City of Rockford says having a uniform regional policy could make a difference. It's pushing for one code for northern Illinois communities.

Rockford's building plans examiner thinks if everyone is under one code, it would streamline building and let communities help each other out when a natural disaster strikes.

"We could have a framework in place to provide building inspectors, construction plan reviewers and be able to assist a stricken community," says Andrew Pieri, City of Rockford.

When the Washington, Illinois tornado hit in 2013, Pieri says there were not enough building inspectors for the small town. Rockford hopes if communities operate under a regional code, then they could work together in a disaster.

"It would help with the whole process to get a team to go in there and inspect buildings and make sure they are safe," says Deputy Chief Mark Callison, Dixon Fire Department.

Pieri also says that operating under one code would help communities create revenue by charging fees for permits. Communities would not be required by the state to do inspections on those permits. However, that idea is what worries Home Builders Association of the Greater Rockford Area.

"Our guys are used to paying for permit fees, but generally when you do that as a result you get an inspection. You pay for the inspection generally when you pay for the permit. You get something in return. The builder gets an inspection, the home buyer gets an inspection, so in a way that protects both parties," says Dennis Sweeney of the association.

This was the first meeting for a proposed regional code. Each city and county who would want to be a part of it would have to approve it first.

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