Fire-Resistant Building Codes Don’t Raise Home Prices

codewatcher home safe from fire

Homes in wildfire-prone areas around the U.S. could be built to better withstand blazes without increasing the cost of construction, according to a new report.

According to the Insurance Journal, new research released in November, and sponsored in part by the insurance industry, marks the first attempt to quantify the expenses associated with building residences that meet stringent flame-resistant criteria. Few states have adopted such codes, often citing housing costs, but the new findings suggest fire-plagued communities could curb damage and save lives with minimal effect on home buyers:

“It’s a proven method,” Kelly Pohl, a research and policy analyst at the Montana-based wildfire policy consulting firm Headwaters Economics, who co-authored the report with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety on the report. “We now know that it’s also a cost-effective method.”

The findings come days after a sweeping report from scientists for 13 federal agencies, who say that climate change will cause more devastating, costly and deadly fires, and that communities haven’t done enough to prepare. Insurers, safety advocates and disaster policy experts have urged state and local governments to toughen building codes — a move that’s often opposed by home builders over concerns it will increase housing costs, putting them out of reach of more potential buyers.

Home that comply with wildfire code are 2% less expensive than traditional construction.