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Florida tops the list of hurricane-prone states with the strongest residential building codes while Delaware ranks at the bottom, according to a new report.
The 2017 hurricanes demonstrated the value of building codes, according to the 2018 edition of the Rating the States report published by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety on Monday. For example, the damage caused by Category 5 storm Hurricane Irma last September was limited due to the implementation of new building codes following the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Andrew in the state in 1992.
“States with strong, updated codes saw stunning proof this year in Florida that updated, well-enforced building codes have led to the construction of homes and buildings that can stand up to fierce hurricane winds,” Julie Rochman, CEO and president of IBHS, said in a statement. “It can’t be any clearer: these codes work. Unfortunately, many states took no action to improve their code systems and a few have weaker systems in place now than they had in 2015.”
Florida had the highest score for its building codes at 95 – compared to its 2015 score of 94 – and rose to the top of the list. Virginia fell one spot to second with a score of 94 – compared to its 95 score in the 2015 report.
Delaware remains at the bottom of the list with a score of 17 – the same score from the 2015 report – as the state has no mandatory statewide residential code.
New York experienced the biggest change in score, increasing from a 56 in the 2015 report to a 64 in the 2018 report after the state adopted the 2015 International Residential Code. The New York City building regulatory system remains exempt from the New York State requirements, but the city took “major positive steps” in updating and strengthening its building codes, especially for wind and wind-driven rain resistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, including adopting the 2009 International Building Code, according to the report.
“Mother Nature delivered a serious and costly beating to the U.S. and its territories during 2017, with 25 million people impacted by catastrophic hurricanes and many more by other severe weather events,” Ms. Rochman said. “Bad weather is not new and will not stop. But what can and must stop is the continued construction, and inevitable destruction, of weak, vulnerable homes built – and too often rebuilt – in questionable locations.”
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand—Reinsurers will cover the bulk of private-market losses that experts say could have been worse if strict building codes had not been in place when an earthquake struck New Zealand's South Island.