For Immediate Release
Contact: Jennifer Wiegert, Director of Marketing & Communications
St. Louis REALTORS®
Phone: 314.576.0033 ext. 317
“Safer + Simpler St. Louis County” Coalition to Support Consistent Building Codes and Inspections
Unified Action Spurred by St. Louis REALTORS® Study Highlighting Inconsistent, Duplicative Building Codes Across 89 Local Jurisdictions
ST. LOUIS, MO (March 3, 2022) – Spurred by a groundbreaking study detailing inconsistent local building codes, a coalition called “Safer + Simpler St. Louis County” has been launched to lead local discussions promoting consistency and curbing wasteful code duplication.
Eleven organizations co-founded “Safer + Simpler St. Louis County.” Their common goals include having good-faith conversations about the current maze of building codes, inspections, and permits. They’re also talking with local governments, civic leaders, community organizations, and professional groups about how to improve the rules.
The creation of “Safer + Simpler St. Louis County” follows up on an unprecedented study of local building codes issued last October by a founding coalition member, the St. Louis REALTORS®. The study found there are at least 42 building code books used across 89 jurisdictions in St. Louis County. Together, the codes that were counted had a whopping 809 chapters, totaling about 17,000 pages.
“The status quo is confusing, costly, wasteful, and frustrating to both residents and businesses,” said St. Louis REALTORS® President Katie Berry. “We are leading good-faith conversations, because our neighbors and businesses across St. Louis County deserve consistent, equitable access to reliable, updated codes.”
Founding organizations in “Safer + Simpler St. Louis County” include:
- American Institute of Architects St. Louis Chapter
- Associated General Contractors of Missouri
- Missouri Association of Plumbing, Heating Cooling Contractors
- Missouri Growth Association
- National Electrical Contractors Association St. Louis Chapter
- Plumbing Industry Council
- Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS® – St. Louis Chapter
- St. Louis Apartment Association
- St. Louis REALTORS®
- Urban Land Institute – St. Louis
- US Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter
Together, members of “Safer + Simpler St. Louis County” want to find ways to reduce complexities and hurdles for local governments in updating and enforcing complex building codes. The coalition’s focus is on a uniform process of code adoption and enforcement, rather than a specific, “one-size-fits-all” code, reflecting the coalition’s respect for each community’s autonomy.
“We agree it’s vital to unify code standards while preserving each municipality’s ability to control the look and feel of their community,” said Megan Werner, Executive Vice President of the Missouri Growth Association. “And we must consider how the cost of navigating the varying codes and rules can impact a company’s decisions to invest in workforce and infrastructure within our region.”
Added Len Toenjes, President of the Associated General Contractors of Missouri: “Our coalition members share a commitment that our citizens deserve equal access to healthy and safe structures. This initiative should help businesses of all sizes operate more efficiently by boosting predictability, transparency, and modernization in the process of building and investing in St. Louis County.”
“A simplified, streamlined, and transparent process for permitting and inspection in St. Louis County is key to driving future growth while best serving the residents and businesses of the County,” said Xavier Gassier, COO of the Missouri Association of Plumbing, Heating Cooling Contractors and the Plumbing Industry Council.
In addition to leading local conversations about bringing consistency to building codes and inspections, “Safer + Simpler St. Louis County” will collaborate on research and analysis, including looking at best practices around our region and nationally. The coalition also looks forward to welcoming more members sharing the positive goals of “Safer + Simpler St. Louis County.”
Building codes specify minimum standards for the construction and maintenance of residential and commercial structures. Last year, when St. Louis REALTORS® searched for a single list of building codes used across St. Louis County, the association discovered that no one had compiled a list, nor had anyone tallied the total number of building codes that exist across the county. Go to stlrealtors.com/codes to see the October 2021 study, and share your own story about issues with inconsistent building codes.
LISTEN & LEARN MORE
Listen to a Realtime Real Estate podcast episode to hear from three of eleven founding organizations of the Safer + Simpler St. Louis County coalition and learn about the initiative’s origin and goals to simplify building codes, facilitate economic development, and improve residents’ health and safety.
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