The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety released a new report that provides an analysis of residential building codes in the 18 hurricane-prone coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast. Building codes are intended to increase the safety and integrity of structures, thereby reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from hurricanes and a wide range of other hazards.

“Rating the States: An Assessment of Residential Building Codes and Enforcement Systems for Life Safety and Property Protection in Hurricane Prone Regions” is the first of its kind, state-by-state assessment of individual state performance in developing and promulgating a residential building code system, which uses modern building codes, coupled with strong enforcement related activities to enhance the protection of homes and families.

“The report goes beyond just evaluating each state’s code system,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “The report offers each state the detailed information and tools it needs to improve its building code process to better protect its citizens. It also gives interested citizens useful information so that they can understand the need for, and demand, better building codes.”

The report combines IBHS’ engineering expertise and regulatory research to examine the three main elements of a state’s building code system:

1.         Code adoption and enforcement: Statewide mandatory code adoption and enforcement are the primary elements to require that the minimum standards of codes are utilized.
2.         Code official training and certification: Code official training and certification are part of the regulatory scheme to ensure that code officials are properly educated, trained and tested in order to correctly enforce building codes.
3.         Licensing requirements for construction trades: Licensing requirements for construction trades ensure that contractors and subcontractors are familiar with the sections of code that impact them, that they demonstrate minimum competency in their trade, and stay current with code requirements.

“IBHS hopes to work with all of the states included in this report-as well as the other jurisdictions across the country – to improve building code regulatory systems. Strong, well enforced codes are essential to effectively strengthening homes, businesses and communities against hurricanes and many other hazards that threaten the U.S.,” Rochman said.

The full report contains:
-           information about the value of codes;
-           the report’s results in brief;
-           an overview of the building code process;
-           information about the vulnerability of hurricane-prone states;
-           the methodology used to produce the report;
-           a state-by-state analysis (Appendix A);
-           the specific criteria used to evaluate the states (Appendix B); and
-           the codes currently in effect in each state (Appendix C).