Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hurricane Andrew disaster brought Florida-wide system of building codes

Mark Puente in the Tampa Bay Times: Hurricane Andrew's greatest impact on the building industry wasn't stronger nails or bigger trusses. It was a statewide building-code system.

Florida now regulates the inspection and enforcement of building codes and requires training and licensing for building officials and contractors. Continuing education is also required. Building officials and contractors can now be disciplined for not meeting requirements — something not done in 1992.

"This is the most fundamental change," said Douglas Buck, a director at the Florida Home Builders Association. "It's not just the building codes. It's whether you are complying with the codes."

On July 1, 2001, after fierce debate, the state adopted the stricter building codes with special provisions for new homes near the coast. The statewide system covers everything from roofing requirements to inspections to window protection.

It also required that many new coastal homes and buildings include hurricane shutters, impact-resistant glass or special internal construction designed to strengthen walls. The new code system unified hundreds of local building codes throughout the state...

Hurricane Andrew in 1992 scoured the Dadeland Mobile Home Park into nothingness. Photo from NOAA

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