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Virginia Tops List of Hurricane States' Building Codes

Vector image of the state of Virginia with #1! on top

Virginia leads the 2024 rankings in building code adoption, enforcement, and contractor licensing for hurricane damage prevention, according to the 2024 Rating The States report released by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).

The report looks at 18 hurricane-prone states across the Atlantic and Gulf coasts to see how local and state-wide governments are addressing the critical role of modern building codes in mitigating damage from severe windstorms.

Eight of the 18 states have lower scores than in 2021 when the last report was issued. This shows a lack of progress in increasing resilience, which puts their communities at risk.

How the Rankings are Decided

IBHS used a 100-point scale to measure the success rates of each state. Up to:

  • 50 points for building code adoption and enforcement

  • 25 points for education of building code officials

  • 25 for licensing and training of building contractors

Virginia ranked first with a score of 96. Florida ranked second with a score of 95, while Connecticut came in third with a score of 90.

“The states in the lower third of the rankings have less than half the points of Virginia, with last place Delaware sitting an astounding 73 points behind,” says IBHS CEO Roy Wright. “In these states, the onus for protecting homes is squarely on homeowners, who must look to voluntary construction standards, like FORTIFIED, to ensure they’re ready for a storm.”

While it is encouraging to see 6 of the 18 states with scores in the 90s, eight states have lower scores than in 2021. North Carolina, for example, is already six years behind the latest code. It passed a moratorium on code adoption last year, which means it will not update its code until at least 2031. As a result, the Tar Heel State lost three points in this year’s study and will likely fall in future reports as other states adopt newer versions of the code.

IBHS also points out that no state in the report has adopted a new residential code or enacted uniform statewide enforcement of that code since 2008, leaving local jurisdictions to fill the gap. The result is inconsistent construction, with some communities far more vulnerable to extreme weather than others.

In Virginia, the communities most likely to bear the brunt of hurricane winds have stepped up the most to ensure building codes meet the standards needed to minimize damage. With a ranking of #1, it looks like they are doing a good job.

Virginia's Report Card at a Glance

Infographic that outlines how Virginia scored in the three considered categories: 49, 24, and 23 as listed in the article.

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Sources: Triple-I Daily, IBHS


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