Louisiana builders are contesting the insurance industry's criticism of their state's building code, reports the Baton Rouge Advocate ("Group says LA. weakened high-wind building codes," by Ted Griggs).
"In an update this week of a January 2012 report, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety reviewed the progress toward strengthening building codes in 18 most hurricane-prone states along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts," the Advocate reports. "Louisiana's codes were rated about midway among the 18 states, but was one of two states cited for taking negative action since January 2012." The step backward, according to IBHS engineer Tim Reinhold, was moving the state's high design wind speed zone closer to the coast.
But Billy Ward, president of the Louisiana Home Builders Association, takes exception to the IBHS report's conclusions: "Start with the fact that wind isn't the cause of most hurricane damage to houses, he said. Trees falling on houses and flood damage are the major problems. A U.S. Department of Commerce report issued after the 2005 storms came to the same conclusion." And Ward argues that IBHS, which is funded by insurance companies, is biased in its judgment of building practices.
The IBHS report, "Midterm Update: Rating the States," is available for download at the organization's website.