Virginia surpasses Florida for strictest hurricane building codes

Some states took no action to improve their codes, and a few have weaker systems in place now than in 2012.

April 12, 2015 |
Virginia surpasses Florida for strictest hurricane building codes

Photo: Arlington County via Wikimedia Commons

Virginia has edged out Florida as the state with the most stringent hurricane building codes, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety’s “2015 Rating the States” report.

Florida, which overhauled its building codes after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, slipped to the second spot. Most states with strong building code systems in place at the time of IBHS’s first report in 2012 remain committed to building safety, the organization says.

Most of these states have updated their codes to the latest model code editions, or are in the process of doing so, and maintained effective enforcement systems.

Some states, however, took no action to improve their codes, and a few have weaker systems in place now than in 2012, IBHS says. The study assesses the progress of 18 hurricane-prone coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast.

Another study done by IBHS, the University of Florida and the FEMA Mitigation Assessment Team following Hurricane Charley, which struck Florida in 2004, found that modern building codes reduced the cost of insurance losses by 42% and the number of insured losses by 60%.

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