What Hurricanes Can Teach Us About Building Codes What Hurricanes Can Teach Us About Building Codes
On September 20, 2017

What Hurricanes Can Teach Us About Building Codes

For the most part building codes are a nuisance. Often, they seem to require excessive measures, and frequent updates. And they often seem unnecessary. Until they are not.

After the recent damage caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, one thing we are learning is that building codes work.

After Hurricane Andrew, many Florida building codes changed to require stricter standards, such as standing seam metal roofs, stronger fasteners, and hurricane impact-resistant windows and doors.

Now, as homeowners and contractors begin to assess the damage caused by hurricane Irma, one clear pattern is emerging: homes built according to the new stricter codes fared better.

“The feedback we are hearing is positive,” related Rusty Payton, chief executive of the Florida Home Builders Association.

Bill Wheat, executive vice president and chief financial officer at D.R. Horton adds about his company’s early assessments, “The more recent building standards post-Andrew over the last 20 years have held up relatively well.”

The conclusion, however, is still early. In the Florida Keys, for example, many of the homes are badly damaged, but so is the road, making the ability to truly assess the damage impossible at the moment.

However, research conducted by Kevin Simmons of Austin College, looking at insured loss data form 2001-2010 found that building code reduced windstorm losses by up to 72% and that there were $6 in losses saved for every $1 of additional construction costs over the course of the decade.

While many argue that the downside of stricter codes is cost, research like that done by Simmons is convincing.

For people in Florida, many would likely rather pay that cost up front, have little to no damage in the event of a hurricane, and pay less in repairs later.


This article is brought to you by ASAP Roofing, a national roofing company that specializes in hail damage, roofing restoration, and hurricane repair. ASAP has offices in Dallas, Texas, and Denver, Colorado.

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