In May 2019, the City of Newton is participating in the 39th annual Building Safety Month, a worldwide campaign presented by the International Code Council, its members and partners to promote building safety. First observed in 1980, Building Safety Month raises awareness about critical safety issues from structural to fire prevention, plumbing and mechanical systems, and energy efficiency.
Building codes and the officials who enforce them are making our families and communities safer and more resilient. Homes and buildings that are built in compliance with building safety codes result in resilient structures that minimize the risks of death, injury and property damage. In the wake of a disastrous hurricane season, rampant wildfires and devastating earthquakes, building safety is even more important. Building safety affects everyone, and modern, updated building codes save lives.
This year’s themes are: May 1–5, Preparing for Disasters: Build Strong, Build Smart; May 6–12, Ensuring a Safer Future Through Training and Education; May 13–19, Securing Clean, Abundant Water for All Communities; May 20–26, Construction Professionals and Homeowners: Partners in Safety; and May 27–31, Innovations in Building Safety.
Building codes have protected the public for thousands of years. The earliest known code of law—the Code of Hammurabi, king of the Babylonian Empire, written circa 2200 B.C.—assessed severe penalties, including death, if a building was not constructed safely. The regulation of building construction in the United States dates back to the 1700s. In the early-1900s, the insurance industry and others with similar concerns developed the first model building code.