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Hurricane-proof Homes Not Selling

Roy Wright of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IIBHS), says the adoption of more storm-resistant building techniques has been slow.
June 26, 2018

Architects and engineers continue to work on designs to protect buildings against extreme weather events, enabling the structures to deflect hurricane winds, elevate with floodwaters, and survive wildfires. However, Roy Wright of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IIBHS), says the adoption of more storm-resistant building techniques has been slow.

Of the roughly 800,000 single-family houses built last year, the Census Bureau reports just 8 percent had concrete frames — one of the main ways architects and engineers toughen structures against extreme weather. IIBHS created the “Fortified” construction standards in 2008, and since then, only 8,126 U.S. homes have achieved that designation. Last year’s record hurricanes and wildfires demonstrated the vulnerability of the country’s housing stock, damaging or destroying more than half a million homes from California to Puerto Rico.

Wright said his group has been working with local governments, roofing companies and builders to convince them to build to higher standards. And he said last year’s hurricanes helped bring homeowners around. “There is a tipping point where people understand the disruptive nature of a storm on the life of their family,” Wright said. “It only takes one storm.”

 

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