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ORLANDO, Fla. — As a hurricane-prone state Florida’s stakes in this matter are very high. The new report finds that most states with strong building code systems in place at the time of the original 2012 report remain committed to building safety. These states have updated their codes to recent model code editions, or are in the process of doing so, and they have maintained effective enforcement systems.


After a very difficult 2017 in terms of natural disasters, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (also known as IBHS,) conducted the 2018 edition of Rating the States. The timing seemed perfect to initiate the discussion about improving building strength, in line with the reported damages to existing properties. 


Mother Nature delivered a serious and costly beating to the US and its territories during 2017, with 25 million people impacted by catastrophic hurricanes and many more by other severe weather events, according to Julie Rochman, CEO and President of IBHS. “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. It can’t be any clearer: these codes work,” Rochman said.  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. 






The benefits of a strong, well-enforced and routinely updated code include:

  • Giving residents a sense of security about the safety and soundness of their buildings.
  • Offering protection to first responders during and after fires and other disaster events.
  • Promoting a level, predictable playing field for designers, builders, and suppliers.
  • Reflecting recent design and technology innovation, often incorporating newly identified best practices and cost efficiencies, and
  • Reducing the amount of solid waste in landfills produced by homes that have been damaged or destroyed during disasters.


The IBHS evaluated 47 key data points to assess the effectiveness of the states’ residential building code programs, including code adoption and enforcement; building official training and certification; and licensing requirements for construction trades who implement building code provisions. In addition to the rating scale, the report offers specific guidance with suggestions each state could follow as they seek to update and improve their code systems.



2018 and 2015 Rating the States Scores

STATE

2018 SCORE (NEW)

2015 SCORE

Florida

95

94

Virginia

94

95

South Carolina

92

92

New Jersey

90

89

Connecticut

89

88

Rhode Island

87

87

North Carolina

83

84

Louisiana

83

82

Massachusetts

81

79

Maryland

78

78

Georgia

68

69

New York

64

56

Maine

54

55

New Hampshire

46

48

Texas

34

36

Mississippi

28

28

Alabama

27

26

Delaware

17

17



Although Florida tops the list, ranked #1, in terms of code enforcement in the 2018 edition of Rating the States from IBHS, the report otherwise finds little progress in strengthening codes to ensure safety, community resilience.


The new report finds that most states with strong building code systems in place at the time of the original 2012 report remain committed to building safety. These states have updated their codes to recent model code editions, or are in the process of doing so, and they have maintained effective enforcement systems.

 


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