- Posted On: April 21, 2015
Building and safety figures in hurricane-prone areas linked to strong codes
The standard for building safety today, is not the same as it was 25 years ago or even five years ago. For homes and structures in high-risk areas, codes ensure greater stability and security. Homes in tornado alley, those along fault lines and coastal homes vulnerable to strong storms are more likely to withstand nature’s onslaught if constructed according to building and safety codes. Better construction means less property damage and communities that are less affected in the wake of major events.
Hurricane States Subject of Comparison Study
The protective impact of building and safety codes can be seen when comparing 2012 and 2015 reports from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS). That’s exactly what happened at a recent national conference on hurricanes. Two reports from IBHS compared a dozen and a half states with hurricane-prone coastlines. The report comparison reveals that while some vulnerable states spent the past three years upgrading codes to keep them on the cutting edge of requirements and inspections, other states have been slower to update but did manage to maintain vigilance in regard to inspections. A handful of the examined states not only failed to update their code and enforcement programs, but are actually more slack than they were three years ago.
Modern Codes and Strong Enforcement Lower Storm Damage
The IBHS used dozens of metrics to score coastal states on various areas of preparedness. Items such as building and safety codes, inspections, code enforcement, licensing and inspection training went into state assessments. IBHS research shows that code compliance makes a positive difference in the amount of nature-inflicted damage with which communities (and their insurers) must deal. A separate study that IBHS conducted in tandem with the Mitigation Assessment Team for FEMA and the University of Florida revealed that strong building and safety codes reduced the number of insurance claims by 60 percent and the severity of loss by 42 percent after Hurricane Charley (2004).
Winners and Losers
States with some of the highest scores out of 100 were: Virginia (95), Florida (94) and South Carolina (92). Low scoring states included: Mississippi (28), Alabama (26) and Delaware (17). The IBHS report didn’t just point fingers, however. It also made suggestions for improving state codes for greater safety.
At Comcate our company founders spent time sitting in the city administrator’s seat. We understand your responsibilities, your concerns and the constraints you work under. At the same time, we know how software can help you move your community in the direction of better code development and enforcement. After all, when disaster strikes, the strength of your efforts will be on display.