Irma could be a tough test of Florida’s upgraded building codes

Building codes statewide got tougher after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but a bigger storm looms

Miami /
Sep.September 09, 2017 09:00 AM

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew revealed lax building codes in Florida and led the state to require construction with greater resilience. Now, experts say Hurricane Irma could provide the toughest test of the state’s upgraded building codes since Andrew decimated southern Miami-Dade County.

Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president and CEO of the not-for-profit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, said economists and engineers concluded that a flawed building code was the primary cause of Hurricane Andrew’s extensive damage in the Miami area.

Florida adopted the most stringent building codes in the United States after Hurricane Andrew. For example, the codes have required the use of plywood in roof construction and have prohibited the substitution of particle board, and instead of roofing nails, staples are required.

Monica Ningen, chief property underwriter for the United States and Canada at Switzerland-based reinsurer Swiss Re, said tougher building codes minimized damage to mobile homes during Florida hurricanes in 2004 by requiring such homes to be fastened more securely to their foundations.

Upgraded building codes in Florida also require such specifications as shatterproof windows, roof fortification and reinforced concrete pillars.
Across most of the state, developers have been required since 2001 to build structures that can withstand winds of 111 miles per hour.

Even tougher resilience requirements apply in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where structures must withstand, at a minimum, winds of 130 miles per hour.

But Hurricane Irma has produced winds of 185 miles per hours as it has approached Florida, raising questions about how “buildings under the new code are going to fare,” Allen Douglas, executive director of the Florida Engineering Society, told the Associated Press.

Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the engineering college at the University of Miami, also said the power of Hurricane Irma raises questions about how well Florida’s building codes will perform if the hurricane makes landfall in South Florida.

Swiss Re currently estimates that the total value of residential property in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties is approximately $660 billion and that commercial property values total about $550 billion. [Associated Press]Mike Seemuth


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
 Adam Neumann (Getty, Bal Harbour Florida)
Ex-WeWork CEO Adam Neumann inks $44M deal for Bal Harbour properties
Ex-WeWork CEO Adam Neumann inks $44M deal for Bal Harbour properties
Alex Sapir and Giovanni Fasciano with Arte by Antonio Citterio in Surfside (Photos via Arte by Antonio Citterio/PR Newswire)
Miami penthouse sets cryptocurrency sale record: $22.5M
Miami penthouse sets cryptocurrency sale record: $22.5M
(iStock)
South Florida resi construction starts soar in March
South Florida resi construction starts soar in March
Eden Multifamily heads Jay Massirman and Jay Jacobson with Cypress Equity Investments CEO Michael Sorochinsky (rendering courtesy of MSA Architects)
Eden Multifamily, Cypress Equity score $24M construction loan for Tamarac apartments
Eden Multifamily, Cypress Equity score $24M construction loan for Tamarac apartments
(iStock)
Home prices across globe hit records, prompting worries of bubble
Home prices across globe hit records, prompting worries of bubble
Steven and Beth Millner with One Thousand Ocean (Patrick McMullan/Getty, Google Maps)
Private equity honcho pays $5M for Boca Raton condo
Private equity honcho pays $5M for Boca Raton condo
From left: Jim Cohen, Nancy Corey, Nathan Zeder, Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, Phil Gutman and Mike Pappas (iStock)
South Florida’s pandemic-fueled residential market poised for bull run in 2021
South Florida’s pandemic-fueled residential market poised for bull run in 2021
Kathleen DuRoss Ford and 300 North Lake Way (Getty, Google Maps)
Kate Ford’s Palm Beach estate sells for $55M
Kate Ford’s Palm Beach estate sells for $55M
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...