Stricter building codes apparently passed Irma’s test

Florida has one of the nation's strongest building codes, patterned after the code Miami-Dade County enacted after Hurricane Andrew in 1992

September 17, 2017 11:10 AM

Downed trees block a road in Miami after Hurricane Irma hit the city. (Credit: Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images)

As Floridians recover from Hurricane Irma, preliminary evidence shows that homes built in compliance with the state’s toughened building codes sustained less storm damage than other homes.

Rusty Payton, chief executive of the Florida Home Builders Association, told the Wall Street Journal that while further assessment is needed, it appears the state’s stricter set of construction standards “did its job.”

Florida has one of the nation’s strongest building codes, adopted in 2002 and patterned after the building code that Miami-Dade County enacted after Hurricane Andrew decimated the southern end of the county in 1992.

Among other requirements, the strengthened statewide building code requires that new homes have stronger fasteners to prevent powerful winds from ripping off their roofs and, in some areas, impact-resistant windows.

Bill Wheat, executive vice president and chief financial officer of home builder D.R. Horton Inc., told the Wall Street Journal that initial evidence indicates that Florida homes in compliance with post-Andrew building standards “have held up relatively well.”

Julie Rochman, chief executive of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, a research organization supported by insurance companies, told the Journal that initial assessments of damage from Hurricane Irma indicate that Florida’s building codes “have proved themselves, that the new construction has done well.” [Wall Street Journal] Mike Seemuth

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