• Posted On: August 04, 2015

Scoring State Building Codes Reveals Significant Safety Disparity

Summer is a time for hot dogs, baseball, picnics and fun. It is also often a time for severe weather. Taken together, spring and summer represent a major storm season when flooding, hurricanes and tornados can threaten communities all across the nation. Such storms can cost large sums of money for clean-up, repair and rebuilding. Most of the cost is calculated in terms of insurance claims. Thus, the best way to lower economic impact from storm season is to make sure that buildings are constructed to stand up to the punishment unleashed by Mother Nature. Strong buildings are largely the product of strong building codes.

The insurance industry itself lists building code enforcement as one of the chief means of reducing storm-related damage and costs. The Institute for Business and Home Safety, or IBHS, is focused on helping state and local governments create strong and effective building codes that will lead to more disaster-resistant structures. At present, there is significant disparity in codes between states and even within single states. Such difference in coding regulations means that some areas are safer than others when disaster strikes.

The IBHS looked at 18 states that are typically affected by hurricanes. They found that building codes varied widely among these states even though they faced many of the very same risk factors. IBHS has scored these states on a regular basis for purposes of comparison. Here are the results of their most recent investigation:

  1. Virginia won top honors with a score of 95 (scoring ranged 1-100)
  2. 10 states scored better than they had in 2012
  3. Six states scored lower than they had previously
  4. Two states remained the same

Obviously, buildings in California must be constructed to withstand different challenges than structures in South Carolina. Yet, the IBHS research shows how even when similar challenges exist, the building codes are not in unison.
It would be worth the effort to work towards uniformity in building codes in areas confronted by similar severe weather conditions. Writing and enforcing up-to-date building codes could, according to IBHS, lower insurance-related costs by over 40 percent.

If you are responsible for building code enforcement in your municipality we invite you to look at Comcate’s building code software. Our solution is helping communities across the nation to enforce building codes more efficiently. You can make your community safer by helping your building code officers to work on-the-go. Cut costs and increase safety with our code enforcement solution. It’s the best way to prepare for severe storm season.

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