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Texas Building Code Survey Highlights Need for Mitigation in Hurricane-prone areas

840,000 people in coastal Texas lack protection from residential building codes

A detailed review of coastal Texas building codes revealed gaps that could leave homeowners at risk if mitigation efforts are not sought as nearly one-third of Texans live in the coastal counties.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) building code survey of jurisdictions along the Texas coast after Hurricane Harvey highlighted what we knew – the adoption of strong, modern building codes with good enforcement has proven to reduce the destruction of homes and displacement of families that often comes with landfalling hurricanes.

In Texas, building codes are adopted at the city and county level. Thirty-one jurisdictions participated in the self-reporting survey; fifteen jurisdictions declined to participate, including some of the rapidly growing suburbs of Houston.

While all twenty-one cities in the survey have adopted a code, only two of ten surveyed counties have adopted a code. More than 840,000 people live in areas outside city-limits with no adopted residential building code.

“Building codes work. Building codes help communities come back faster after a natural disaster,” says Anne Cope, PhD, P.E., Chief Engineer at IBHS. “Where building codes are missing, we need to invest in mitigation to bridge that gap and help vulnerable coastal communities build stronger.”

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