Despite the fact that the Southeast has experienced more billion-dollar disasters in the past 30 years than the rest of the country combined, a number of coastal states took no action to improve their building code systems since 2012, and a few have weaker systems in place, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).
In its 2015 “Rating the States” report, IBHS graded the 18 most hurricane-prone states located along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast on their building regulations. “Residential building codes are minimum life safety standards used in the design, construction and maintenance of homes,” the report stresses. “The function of building codes is to increase the safety and integrity of homes to reduce deaths, injuries and property damage from a wide range of hazards.”
The report assessed codes through a series of 47 questions concerning code adoption and enforcement; building official training and certification; and licensing requirements for construction trades. Each question was assigned a value reflecting its importance in promoting life safety and reducing property losses, with the sum total of the values adding up to 100 points. In general, then, a higher score on the report is better.