Recent Hurricane Study Gleans Surprising ResultsJanuary 19th, 2012 by DWM Magazine
When the Institute of Business and Home Safety (IBHS) analyzed residential building codes in the 18 hurricane-prone coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast, they discovered some eye-opening results.
“One thing that was surprising is that there are still states in hurricane regions that do not have statewide codes [Texas, Mississippi and Alabama],” says Wanda Edwards, director of code development, IBHS. “Having a uniform code throughout the country would be beneficial, as it gives states control over how construction is regulated.”
But until that happens, Edwards says more focus and improvement is needed on statewide code adoptions, and says those states that don’t have statewide codes can look to those that do as a roadmap.
Edwards says the IBHS aims to “engage with stakeholders in some of these states to help establish and/or improve the regulations within the state.”
So what did the study uncover related to windows and/or glass?
“One aspect [we looked at] in those states that did have a code was the key wind provisions of the code to make sure they had not been weakened. We looked to make sure they had opening protection consistent with the model code,” says Edwards. She adds that IBHS wants to foster improved collaboration with the industry.
“Hopefully we can work together with [the fenestration industry] to promote [code]; as it is beneficial to operate on a level playing field and have uniformity from state to state,” she says.
The report examined 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, and that they demonstrate minimum competency in their trade, and stay current with code requirements.