Commissioners Domenico, Pearlman, and Toor,
I’m writing in support of upholding the BuildSmart regulations in regards to rebuilding after the recent fire in Four Mile Canyon. Of course, in the wake of any catastrophe, the primary goal is to aid those affected so that they can rebuild quickly. At the same time, there is an opportunity to upgrade the building stock so that the rebuilt homes are more comfortable, healthier and more energy efficient.
According to County staff, the majority of residences were covered by policies that cover additional costs for meeting changes in the code since they were built. Rather than making a blanket change to the regulations, I’d encourage the commissioners to consider allowances for those residents whose homes were not insured for code changes, or those who had no insurance at all. Additionally, the BuildSmart regulations are written such that any properties that would have difficulty meeting the requirements due to site specific issues can request a waiver.
The building community in Boulder has integrated the BuildSmart regulations into their way of doing business such that it shouldn’t have an impact on the schedule for returning the affected residents to their homes in a timely manner. Additionally, retaining the BuildSmart regulations will help keep the work with quality local contractors who are familiar with Boulder, its regulations, and are members of the community, rather than going to out-of-town contractors whose work might not result in the quality of residence we aspire to in Boulder County. A significant amount of time and money has been invested by the County and its building professionals in developing the BuildSmart program. I believe we have an opportunity to show that it can work well normally, and in times of crisis.
I strongly prefer a creative solution to help those affected rebuild their homes as quickly as possible, while retaining the advantages of energy efficiency, comfort and quality. Let’s take inspiration from Greensburg, KS (who rebuilt green after the whole town was flattened by a tornado) and not just rebuild, but rebuild better.
Posted by Mark Bloomfield, Sustainably Built