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Economic Analysis of Building Code Impacts: A Suggested Approach.

pdf icon Economic Analysis of Building Code Impacts: A Suggested Approach. (3219 K)
McConnaughey, J. S.

NBSIR 78-1528; 65 p. October 1978.

Available from:

National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB-287405


cost benefit analysis; risk analysis; building codes; standards; safety; electrical shock


This report suggests an evaluation approach which can be use by building officials and legislative bodies faced with making building code decisions. A method to evaluate many of the potential benefit and cost impacts of specific building code provisions is developed. The report also defines and categorizes the economic impacts of building codes. While no approach to classifying building code impacts will be fully appropriate for all uses, the definitions and categories proposed may help to clarify or reconcile some of the differing opinions concerning the impact of building codes. Finally, the report illustrates the suggested approach by evaluating the 1975 National Electeical Code requirement for the use of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) in residences. Based on sensitivity analysis, estimates are made of how much it costs society in order to save one life through the GFCI code provision. This case study conclude that the estimated cost to save a life is nearly $4 million. A lower bound estimate of the cost to save a life is about $2.5 to $3.5 million.