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Updated Florida building codes helped newer homes withstand Hurricane Ian

Updated Florida building codes helped newer homes withstand Hurricane Ian

Wind losses in Lee County were twice as high on structures built before 1996.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | November 1, 2022
Hurricane Ian Construction
Courtesy Pexels.

Newer homes seemed to fare much better than older structures during Hurricane Ian, suggesting that updated Florida building codes made a difference.

In the hardest-hit parts of southwest Florida, many newer structures remained mostly intact in the up to 120 mph winds generated by the hurricane. One photograph on one beach area shows 18 homes built before 1981 that were completely destroyed, but one house, built in 2020, appears to be almost unscathed.

That home is elevated above much of the storm surge level, but the roof also appears undamaged. CoreLogic says that wind losses in Lee County, one of the coastal areas with the most damage, were twice as high for structures built before 1996, when the state began tightening building codes for wind load.

CoreLogic’s computer models peg insured losses from Hurricane Ian from $22 billion to $32 billion, excluding flood damage. It’s much lower than losses coastal Florida would have seen if newer structures had not been built to the stronger standards, according to CoreLogic and other experts.

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