Storm-Prone States Relaxing Building Codes

CodeWatcher Florida building codes storms

Storm-prone states are relaxing building codes instead of stengthening them to protect

Christopher Flavelle’s March 19 Bloomberg Businessweek story “As Storms Get Stronger, Building Codes Are Getting Weaker,” reviews the surprising response to storms by some states. He reports: 

A [recently released] report shows Florida isn’t alone in easing up on building regulations even as the effects of global warming escalate. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety examined building policies in 18 Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and found that despite the increasing severity of natural disasters, many of those states have relaxed their approach to codes — or have yet to impose any whatsoever.

“There’s no longer the automatic assumption that codes are good,” Julie Rochman, the head of the institute, said in an interview. “We just have an incredible capacity for amnesia and denial in this country.”

That trend leaves residents more vulnerable to climate change; it also puts states at odds with the Trump administration, which is struggling to cope with record disaster costs — costs that tougher building codes are meant to reduce.

The shift toward less rigorous codes is driven by several factors, experts say: Rising anti-regulatory sentiment among state officials, and the desire to avoid anything that might hurt home sales and the tax revenue that goes with them.

And fierce lobbying from home builders.

Read the full story here.

Keep with with all the news and trends on storm-proof building on Green Builder Media’s Resilient Housing site.