BRADENTON -- The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety
released a new report this week, which provides an analysis of residential building codes in the 18 hurricane-prone coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast. 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.
On a scale of 100, Florida and Virginia earned top grades, both receiving a 95. The IBHS lauded the Sunshine State
for "a well-developed system for regulation of all aspects of code adoption and enforcement, code enforcement training and certification, and licensing requirements for contractors and subcontractors." It was dinged only for a law that prohibits the requirement for residential fire sprinklers in one and two-family dwellings and townhomes, as required by the 2009 International Residential Code. Scores were varied
with four of the 18 states scoring below 20. Mississippi pulled up the bottom of the list with a mere 4 points. According to the report, the state "has virtually no regulatory process in place for building codes." Seven counties in Mississippi are required to enforce the wind and flood requirements of the 2003 International Residential Code, but there is no statewide code, no mandatory enforcement, no programs or requirements for inspectors, and very few licensing requirements.
General contractors are the only related trade in the state required to pass an exam prior to licensing. Conversely, Florida requires licensing of general, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, and roofing contractors. Additionally, the license requires passing a licensing examination and obtaining continuing education. The state can discipline a contractor for a variety of violations.