When the Midwest was devastated by floods in 1993, Congress set to work on getting its oft-stalled flood legislation passed to help spare the depleted FHA mutual mortgage insurance fund from further siphoning.

During the Midwest deluge, some pundits in Washington questioned whether the same should be done for earthquake insurance. There hasn't been much movement on that front, but the issue hasn't gone entirely unnoticed at HLJD where the department has finalized rules that impose new minimum seismic safety requirements for all loans insured by FHA.

Those new standards, which take effect Aug. 18, are amendments to the Minimum Property Standards, 24 CFR-part 200, subpart S, intended to ensure structural integrity for all new single-family, two-family and multifamily FHA-insured housing.

The rule will mandate compliance with the seismic design requirements of the American Society of Civil Engineers standard ASCE 7-88, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures.

For more information, contact Donald Fairman, acting director of HUD's manufactured housing and construction standards division at (202) 755-7440.

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