US: As storms get stronger, building codes are getting weaker
The showdown in the Florida statehouse last year had all the drama of a knock-down political brawl: Powerful industries clashing. Warnings of death and destruction. And a surprise last-minute vote, delivering a sweeping reform bill to the governor’s desk.
The battle wasn’t about gun control, immigration or healthcare, but about making it easier to ignore national guidelines on building codes. To the surprise of the insurers, engineers and safety advocates who opposed the change, the home builders won -- in a state that gets hit by more hurricanes than any other.
Three months later, Hurricane Irma smashed into Florida.
A report being released on Monday shows Florida isn’t alone in easing up on building regulations even as the effects of global warming escalate. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety examined building policies in 18 Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and found that despite the increasing severity of natural disasters, many of those states have relaxed their approach to codes -- or have yet to impose any whatsoever.