Hurricane Proof Homes (this section still under construction)

Florida has responded to hurricane devastation by substantially changing its building codes. Dade County has gone a step further and now has the toughest building codes in the nation.  Broward County has adopted Dade’s codes and the remainder of Florida is evaluating the adoption of some or all of Dade’s code. Product testing for hurricane resistance includes testing for both windload and impact. However, a great deal of hurricane damage results from flooding for which much hurricane product testing is impractical.

FEMA has mapped flood risk for approximately 20,000 U.S. communities, creating documents called FIRMs (Flood Insurance Rate Maps). FIRMs are used by communities to regulate new construction, lenders to determine whether flood insurance is required, insurers to determine premiums, and engineers complete National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) elevation certificates. New construction in coastal flood hazard areas must meet minimum NFIP and community requirements. Repairs, remodeling, and additions must meet community requirements and may also be subject to NFIP requirements.

While the new codes regarding wind, impact and flood must be addressed, the opportunity now exists to make new homes resistant to the strongest hurricanes. Many builders are differentiating themselves by building beyond these code requirements. Benefits of exceeding the minimum requirements are:

New products that provide superior hurricane protection usually provide other benefits. For example, “insulating concrete forms” (polystyrene building blocks) also provide superior insulation quality, sound quality, fire protection, insect protection, mold resistance, longevity and is recyclable.

Site Location:

When evaluating a site in hurricane affected areas, it is important to consider the impact of wind (trees and adjacent buildings) and flood (low elevations or close proximity to water bodies). If directly on the beach, wind and flood will be more extreme. Coastal erosion and salt-water decay are added concerns. Coastal homes will cost more to design, construct, maintain, repair and insure. There are several building practices specific to building on the beach including increased elevation. This webpage addresses homes in hurricane affected areas versus just those on beachfront.

Home Design:

Builders specializing in hurricane resistant homes, offer various house plans designed for maximum storm protection. These include homes built to withstand 200mph winds and higher.  Anyone planning to build a home in a hurricane-affected area should consider hurricane resistance in all phase of design and construction. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

The cost to build is substantially higher in hurricane affected areas.

However, since a home is likely the most expensive investment and the safety of its occupants paramount, these additional expenses are highly justifiable and increase the market value of the home accordingly.