Monday, November 24, 2008

Insurers warn brittle buildings crumble under climate change

Courier Mail (Australia): Insurers have warned of constructing "increasingly brittle" buildings that will be more difficult to insure given the risk of extreme weather. It says existing building codes say nothing about the effect of hail on roofs and windows, and buildings only need to be constructed to a standard that prevents collapse under high winds rather than severe damage.

The Insurance Council has mounted a campaign to improve home building standards across the country, saying current laws fail to take into account the influence of climate change. The council has called on the Rudd Government to produce a "national construction code" to incorporate all building regulatory and compliance issues.

In a submission to the Government's review of the operations of building codes, the council insists there is no minimum requirement for the resilience of homes to natural hazards. It says the Government should introduce "uniform and formal regulation for a minimum level of property resilience to hazards".

Without such change "Australia will continue to produce increasingly brittle buildings that will be progressively more difficult for consumers to insure in an environment where the everyday risks of extreme hail, wind, fire and flood have increased", the submission states….

Hail storm damage, shot by quinn norton, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

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