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Storms Prove New Building Codes Work


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GULF BREEZE, Fla. -- Public officials, builders and insurers say the new Florida building codes imposed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 have shown themselves to be very effective.

Two years ago, Florida adopted an even stronger statewide code that includes better reinforcement of walls and window protection such as shutters. The code calls for additional binders tying roofs to walls and stronger shingles that must be nailed onto roofs instead of stapled.

In the first three hurricanes this year, homes built to the tougher standards escaping relatively unscathed. Assessments after Hurricane Jeanne are just beginning, but experts say they expect a similar result.

Part of the Panhandle is exempted from certain high-wind standards, based on prediction maps developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The exemption covers those parts of the Panhandle more than a mile inland stretching from Franklin County west to the Alabama state line.

It was added to the code by the Florida Legislature to keep Panhandle building costs down. The insurance industry probably will ask lawmakers to expand the wind map standards up to four or five miles inland.

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