IBHS strongly supports the statewide adoption of building codes and standards, strong local enforcement of the codes, and training and licensing of building officials, builders, and contractors. Building codes are sets of regulations, standards, and guidelines adopted by states and local communities to promote the construction of safe and durable structures. Building codes help safeguard people and property from hazards such as fires and electrical malfunctions, as well as severe weather and natural disasters.
Choose Science That Can Shape Codes
Numerous studies have quantified the cost-benefit of quality building codes and enforcement across multiple perils. Historically, codes focus on life safety. However, through proper application, they can serve to reduce the disruption natural hazards have on our lives.
Existing test standards, upon which some codes are based, struggle to serve as predictors of real-world performance. As IBHS pushes our core peril research programs forward, we will share research results that can improve codes and standards. In the wind domain, foundational science already provides the basis for improving testing standards that can inform future building codes. On the other hand, new science is required to advance wildfire codes and standards.
IBHS focuses on determining the most appropriate methods and cost-effective practices to ensure buildings are adequately constructed for the hazards they face. This will include establishing and updating standards with wide applicability, advancing specific improvements to codes, and using science to refute efforts to weaken existing codes and standards. Rapid technological advances can also bring about the need for research to make sure that codes and standards reflect the state of the science and avoid introducing unnecessary vulnerabilities.
Construction standards specify the accepted design, installation, and maintenance practices for the materials and systems used in construction. Strong construction standards support safe, economic, and quality construction and contribute to improved disaster resiliency.
IBHS conducts scientific research to improve building material performance, systems, and construction standards. Recent standards testing includes asphalt shingle performance research and continuous load path testing. Learn more about IBHS Research.
Since 2012, IBHS has published a state-by-state assessment of building code systems for the 18 states most vulnerable to catastrophic hurricanes along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico. The report is intended to focus attention on the need for strong, statewide building codes and identify steps states can take to improve their building code systems. Visit the Rating the States page to view the reports and learn more about the findings of these studies.
Texas has consistently scored in the bottom 25% in the IBHS Rating the States report, which rates statewide code and enforcement activities every three years. To investigate this apparent gap further, IBHS conducted a survey of Texas building code officials and local code administrators in this vulnerable region of Texas to understand building code adoption and enforcement at the local jurisdiction level. Our survey showed that within the coastal areas surveyed, there are over 264,000 single-family housing units and more than 840,000 residents with no building code protection.
Visit the Survey of Coastal Texas Building Codes page to learn key findings from the survey and IBHS recommendations.