Virginia one of top states for strong residential building codes
Virginia ranked second in The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety 2018 Rating the States report. This information assesses the progress of 18 hurricane-prone coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast in strengthening their residential building codes.
Virginia scored 94 out of a possible 100 points and ranked second only to Florida.
The findings indicate that while many states have affirmed their commitment to strong building codes, others lack progress in adopting and enforcing updated residential building codes. Because residential building codes represent a minimum life-to-safety standard for occupancy, the report suggests that many homes remain at risk from severe hurricane events.
“We are pleased to see that Virginia is committed to strong building codes to help protect people during a hurricane,” noted Sam Rooks, vice president of underwriting & policy services for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. “Building to comply with stronger building codes has been proven to reduce risk and can make structures better able to withstand a weather disaster.”
IBHS evaluated 47 key data points to assess the effectiveness of the states’ residential building code programs, including code adoption and enforcement; building official training and certification; and licensing requirements for construction trades that implement building code provisions.
“Mother Nature delivered a serious and costly beating to the U.S. and its territories during 2017, with 25 million people impacted by catastrophic hurricanes and many more by other severe weather events,” said Julie Rochman, CEO and president of IBHS. “States with strong, updated codes saw stunning proof … that updated, well-enforced building codes have led to the construction of homes and buildings that can stand up to fierce hurricane winds. It can’t be any clearer: these codes work.”
Like the 2015 edition, the new report finds that most states with strong building code systems in place at the time of the original 2012 report remained committed to building safety. These states have updated their codes to recent model code editions, or are in the process of doing so, and they have maintained effective enforcement systems.
In addition to the rating scale, the report offers specific guidance with suggestions each state could follow as they seek to update and improve their code systems. The report can be found at disastersafety.org/ibhs-public-policy/rating-the-states/.