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Build with Strength Denounces Passage of HB 876 Coalition Strongly Urges Governor Deal to Veto Legislation And Keep Georgians Safe

December 20, 2019

Sandy Springs, GA – Earlier today, the Georgia State Senate joined their House colleagues in passing legislation – HB 876 – that prevents cities and towns throughout the state from enacting local measures to strengthen their building codes in part, because of fire and safety concerns, and it rescinds local measures that restrict the use of combustible materials already in place. Dunwoody updated their code in December 2014, and Sandy Springs followed suit in August 2016.

In response, Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation’s building codes and providing access to secure housing, issued the following statement:

“Georgia state legislators made it clear today with the passage of HB 876 that they are willing to endanger the safety and security of their neighbors and communities for the sake of special interests. Their recklessness in pursuing this misguided legislation will undoubtedly leave Georgia residents painfully vulnerable.

“While today's results are certainly disappointing, Governor Nathan Deal now has the opportunity to veto this unconstitutional measure and keep his constituents safe. The fact is, this vote completely disregards the advice and recommendations of the local firefighters, whose jobs and welfare depend on safely and effectively combatting these fires.

“Local lawmakers throughout the state must have the authority to strengthen their communities as they see fit to demand stronger and safer buildings. Governor Deal now has the opportunity to show whether he too stands with the special interests or with the people.”

At a press conference in early March, Sandy Springs Fire Chief Keith Sanders provided a burn demonstration to highlight the differences in fire safety between building materials – specifically wood and concrete.

According to polling conducted in September 2016, Georgia voters are highly supportive of Sandy Springs' ordinance (96% support), and were in favor of their own city passing similar regulations by overwhelming margins (94% support). The poll of 400 registered voters living in Georgia was commissioned by Build with Strength.