Homes built to stricter standards fared better during Irma
As homeowners in Florida begin to take stock of the damage from Hurricane Irma, industry observers note that homes built to the state’s stricter building codes seem to have fared better.
The feedback we’re hearing is positive,” says Rusty Payton, chief executive of the Florida Home Builders Association. “We’re all interested and there will be a deep dive. It appears that it did its job.”
Bill Wheat, executive vice president and chief financial officer at home builder D.R. Horton Inc., says his company’s early assessments “indicate that the more recent building standards post-Andrew over the last 20 years have held up relatively well.”
The evidence so far is preliminary, however. Insurance companies, home builders, city and county officials and local resiliency experts say they are still conducting assessments of how homes and commercial buildings built to different standards held up during Irma.
Florida has one of the strongest building codes in the country. Passed statewide in 2002 after Miami-Dade County beefed up regulations in the wake of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the new rules required newly built homes to have stronger fasteners that prevent their roofs from blowing off, nails instead of staples, and impact-resistant windows in certain areas.
Florida passed a bill this spring that gives the Florida Building Commission flexibility to evaluate whether or not to make code changes to keep up with technological advancement and removed a requirement that it adopt International Code Council standards every three years.