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Insurance Services Office Inc. scores Bergen low in building code enforcement

By Maria Pericozzi

The Insurance Services Office Inc., ISO, recently visited Bergen to evaluate the building-code enforcement, ranking second to last for residential buildings and commercial buildings.

It ranked Class 9. In the ranking system, from 1 to 10, Class 1 represents an exemplary commitment to building-code enforcement.

ISO is responsible for evaluating all jurisdictions that have a building code enforcement department. They use the Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule, BCEGS, to recognize building codes in the community, and how your community enforces its building codes.

“The concept is simple: municipalities with well-enforced, up-to-date codes should demonstrate better loss experience,” according to a letter from Joseph Bindas, a field representative from ISO, to David Mason, the zoning/code enforcement officer. “The anticipated upshot: safer buildings, less damage, and lower insured losses from catastrophes.”

Mason presented the letter at the Bergen Town Board meeting on Tuesday.

“What stands out to me is that out of a one to 10, one being the best, we scored a nine,” said Donald Cunningham, town supervisor. “I was under the impression that we were somewhere in the middle.”

ISO will review the community again to determine whether or not the BCEGS rating should be revised.

Mason said the fire hydrants are a problem they know they need to fix. Replacing the fire hydrants will help improve the rating, and currently, the fire department is evaluating the hydrants.

This evaluation effects homeowners' insurance, Mason said.

“If State Farm is insuring a house on the outskirts of town, they look at this rating,” Mason said. “They base their insurance on that.”

ISO will meet with Mason on Aug. 29 to review the questionnaire and responses, as well as supporting documentation, and come up with a plan to improve the rating. 

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