Make the Choice -- Build to Higher Standards

Patricia Skinner  |  4/7/2007 9:06:17 PM

Making the Choice - MATs and Maps



Following the 2005 hurricanes, Louisiana adopted a statewide building code. Homebuilding is now governed by the International Residential Code, which sets the minimum acceptable standards for construction. Building codes protect the safety, health and welfare of communities and take into account natural hazards and other conditions that could impact your home. Louisiana’s adoption of the residential code also provides insurance companies with assurances that homes will be built to withstand hazards associated with hurricanes.

Your new home must be built to comply with the code requirements for your area. The building requirements change as you move inland from the coast, because they are based on an area’s exposure to wind and flood. Homes closer to the coast must be built to resist stronger winds; those subject to surge and deeper flooding must be built higher. As our coastline recedes and flooding worsens due to coastal erosion, subsidence and sea-level rise, hurricane risks across South Louisiana are increasing.

How safe do you want to be, and for how long? Will today’s standards protect you from the risks you’ll face 10 or 20 years from now?
You can make the choice to learn about the building code requirements that provide for greater safety and security. You can choose the level of protection you want your home to provide. Choosing to build a little higher and a little stronger now is smart. While no construction method can entirely eliminate risk, building to proven wind and flood standards can significantly reduce your home’s vulnerability to hurricane forces. And using construction dollars wisely can buy you benefits you may not realize.

Think about this…
Would you rather cope with major rebuilding after a disaster, or avoid much of the destruction in the first place? If you don’t build stronger, in some ways you are choosing to raise your risk of sustaining damage. Choices you make now can help avoid the struggle of restoring or rebuilding your home after the next hurricane.
When you make the choice to build to higher standards, even when not required by the building code for your area, you are choosing to spare your family hurricane-related heartache in the future. By elevating a little more, using impact windows or shutters, or installing high-wind roofing, you will benefit down the road.

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