The effectiveness of local building codes can have a profound effect on how structures in the community will fare in floods, earthquakes or other natural disasters. Not all communities have rigorous building codes, nor do all communities enforce their codes with equal commitment. The City of Menlo Park was recently evaluated by Insurance Services Office (ISO)—an independent organization that helps distinguish amongst communities with effective building code adoption and enforcement—in a comprehensive program called the Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS).
The concept behind this recognition is that municipalities with well-enforced building code requirements designed to mitigate losses from natural hazards, demonstrate better loss experience and can ultimately lower residents’ insurance costs. Effectiveness Classification ranges from Class 1 to Class 10, with Class 1 being the highest/top score. The City of Menlo Park received BCEGS Class 3 for single- and two-family dwellings and Class 3 for all other construction. This is a significant achievement that reflects the city's ongoing dedication for community development that is safe and supportive of Menlo Park's outstanding quality of life.
With this classification, the city will now qualify to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant points in competitive application processes, which typically require scores of Class 5 or better. Relatedly, the City continues to work with the County of San Mateo and stakeholders on an update to the Multijurisdictional Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP)
, currently wrapping up Phase 2 and transitioning to Phase 3 in June 2021, with the final report in August 2021. The updated Plan and new BCEGS classification will help the City of Menlo Park remain eligible and competitive for pre- and post-disaster financial assistance, such as grants from FEMA and the State, to reduce the exposure of residents to risks associated with both natural and human-caused hazards.