Tag Archives: Resilience

Modern Building Codes Would Prevent Billions
In Catastrophe Losses

A new study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could be instrumental to its effort to persuade states and localities to adopt up-to-date building codes. 

The study, titled Building Codes Save: A Nationwide Study of Loss Prevention, quantifies the physical and economic losses associated with flooding, hurricanes, and earthquakes that have been avoided due to buildings being constructed according to modern, hazard-resistant building codes and standards.  

In California and Florida – two of the most catastrophe-prone U.S. states – the study found that “adopting and enforcing modern hazard-resistant building codes over the past 20 years indicate a long-term average future savings of $1 billion per year for those two states combined.” 

“The combined savings from these two states demonstrate the high value of adopting I-Codes for hazard mitigation as a return on investment,” FEMA wrote, referring to model construction codes published by the International Code Council

“This gives us the foundation to back up the recommendations that we’re making,” FEMA building engineer Jonathan Westcott said at a recent conference on flood prevention. 

The study is part of FEMA’s broader effort to reduce the growing cost of natural disasters by convincing states and municipalities to adopt post-2000 building codes. Two-thirds of the nation’s localities haven’t adopted recent model codes, Westcott said. 

Communities often don’t understand the long-term benefits of adopting stronger codes. 

“Instead of just hearing about how expensive it is to add a foot of freeboard,” Wescott said, “they’re going to understand the financial benefits of doing that so they can make a balanced decision on what’s best for their community.” 

I.I.I. Non-Resident Scholar: 2019 hurricane season projected to be slightly below-average

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season activity is projected to be slightly below-average, according to I.I.I. non-resident scholar Dr. Phil Klotzbach.

Dr. Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University (CSU), and his team are forecasting 13 named storms, five hurricanes, and two major hurricanes for the year.

A typical year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. Major hurricanes are defined as Category 3, 4, and 5 storms, where wind speeds reach at least 111 miles per hour.

A slower 2019 season might sound like welcome news after the 2018 Atlantic season saw 15 named storms, with eight of them becoming hurricanes (two major). However, major hurricanes can be potentially catastrophic, whether they hit during a relatively quiet year or not.

Sean Kevelighan, the I.I.I.’s CEO, stressed that homeowners and businesses need to prepare for the upcoming season. “For one, make sure you have insurance; especially for homeowners, you need coverage for both wind and flooding. Remember, these are two different policies, as flood is primarily offered via the National Flood Insurance Program. Secondly, take steps to ensure your home is fortified for resilience, such as having roof tie-downs and a good drainage system. And, finally, take inventory of your belongings as well as map out a safe evacuation route. Americans far too often bet on the storm not hitting them, but the unfortunate truth lies in historical data which shows virtually every mile of our Gulf and Eastern coastlands have been hit at one point or another.”

For more information on hurricane-proofing your home and business, check out the following: