IBHS Updates Building Code Rating Report for 18 Coastal States

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IBHS has released a midterm update to its Rating the States Report, which reviews the progress that the 18 most hurricane-prone coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast have made in strengthening their residential building codes.

Rating the States Midterm Update Map

Rating the States Midterm Update Map (showing midterm status and original rating)

“As we approach the anniversaries of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, we are reminded of the importance of strong, uniform state building codes and the role they play in protecting lives and homes."

Just in time for the height of the hurricane season, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) today released a midterm update to its Rating the States Report, which reviews the progress that the 18 most hurricane-prone coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast have made in strengthening their residential building codes.

“As we approach the anniversaries of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, two of the most deadly and destructive hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S., we are reminded of the importance of strong, uniform state building codes and the role they play in protecting lives and homes,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “This update provides each state a useful analysis of their latest building code activities and what steps they can take to better protect their communities. It also gives interested citizens useful information so that they can understand the need for, and demand, better building codes.”

Rating the States Midterm Update looks at building code activity in the same states featured in IBHS’ original report released in January 2012, assessing them according to whether they have taken positive action, negative action, or no action to improve their codes during the ensuing 18 months. Although this update does not re-score each state, it discusses actions taken to provide more current insights into the strengths and weaknesses of each state system. IBHS plans to issue a new report in 2015, which revises the rating for each state based on actions taken since the original report.

The midterm update found that most of the states with strong building code systems in place at that time of the original report remain committed to building safety; they have updated their codes to the most recent model building codes, and in some instances, passed legislation to further strengthen code protections. By contrast, most of the states with very low scores in the original report have taken no action to improve their codes, thus falling even further behind best practices.

The assessment of states in the midterm update is based on their actions since the original 2012 Rating the States Report. Half (nine) of the states have acted to improve their codes, seven have taken no action, and two have acted to weaken their code systems. For additional information about building codes, visit IBHS’ Building Code web page.

Below is a list of the states based on their 2013 assessment (with their ranking from 0-100 in the original report).

Positive Action:
Florida (95); Virginia (95); South Carolina (84); Connecticut (81); Rhode Island (78); Maryland (73); Georgia (66); New York (60); and Alabama (18).

No Action:
New Jersey (93); Massachusetts (87); Maine (64); New Hampshire (49); Texas (18); Delaware (17); and Mississippi (4).

Negative Action:
North Carolina (81) and Louisiana (73).

The original Rating the States Report was a 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. 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.

Editor’s note: The full Rating the States Midterm Update with state-specific information and the original 2012 Rating the States Report are available on the IBHS Rating the States web page.

The Midterm Update contains:

  •     the report’s results in brief;
  •     information about the value of codes;
  •     an overview of the building code process;
  •     an in-depth state-by-state analysis; and
  •     a map and chart depicting the midterm state assessments and the original numeric rankings.

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About the IBHS
IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks to residential and commercial property by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.

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Stacy Williams, APR
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