Local News

Shield Against Flying Debris Sought for New Coastal Homes

Posted September 10, 2007

— North Carolina is the only coastal state from Texas to Virginia that does not follow international building codes for protection from the debris that blows about in heavy storms.

Only new Tar Heel structures built within 1,500 feet of the Atlantic Ocean must have shutters or impact-resistant windows.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Long and the private insurance industry urged the state's Building Code Council on Monday to push those stricter international wind-borne debris codes inland.

The proposed plan would require new homes not near the ocean, but still susceptible to hurricane-force winds, to meet the international codes. That means installing plywood shutters, custom shutters or impact-resistant glass for homes on the Outer Banks or east of the Intracoastal Waterway.

"The whole goal is, one, to be able to get insurance coverage, flood, wind and standard homeowners and then, second, to get it at a decent rate," said Long.

Many people on the North Carolina Building Code Council also work in the building industry and view stricter protection against wind-borne debris as an unnecessary cost.

"It (the cost) makes a difference whether somebody can afford to live there or not, or somebody has to move. The National Home Builders Association has come to the conclusion that when you put these protections in [place], you give people a false sense of protection," said homebuilder Duke Geraghty.

Supporters argue that you either pay more for a new home, pay more for homeowners insurance or pay the price when a storm comes.

The Building Code Council is scheduled to vote on the issue this fall.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • shine Sep 11, 2007

    I had to think about this a while before posting again..

    What is a 1/4",1/2",5/8" or 3/4" plywood going to do in a "full blown hurricane" ? I have been through too many......

    Mother nature can blow your mind along with building materials.

  • shine Sep 11, 2007

    Beachnut: I had to laugh when I read your post - not only the fox guarding the chicken coop - that is all they ever appoint after all ...... except they do throw a weasel in every once in a while to keep it interesting.

  • Beachnut Sep 11, 2007

    The NC Building Code Council consists of 17 members appointed by the Governor. Current council Chairman is a homebuilder, and Vice Chairman is an architect. The majority of council members make their living in the construction trades. Sounds a bit like the fox guarding the chicken coop.

  • wralfan Sep 11, 2007

    Here's a great shield idea:


  • Harvey Sep 11, 2007

    Go look at pictures of the damage from hurricane Fran and tell me how much good a few impact resistant windows or storm shutters would have done. How well do they work when they are floating in the ocean or flying through the air attached to half of a wall? This is just another law being written by the insurance industry lobby. Do you think for one second that once this is passed and houses are better protected that they will LOWER rates for coastal homes? Nope.

  • Debbie04 Sep 11, 2007

    These rules would require shutters or impact-resistant glass on NEW construction. I don't see why a potential buyer can't fork over an extra $5K or so on his 500K house. Better the home owner pays to protect his property than every one else in the state have to pay higher taxes to subsidize the interest free loans and tax breaks they will get to rebuild after a hurricane.
    If that extra 1% cost will price them out of buying a house at the beach, TOUGH.

  • Funky Neighbor LEE Sep 11, 2007

    Can we get storm shutters to guard against politicians hot air?

  • Adelinthe Sep 11, 2007

    "Long jsut wanted them free on his cottage.... otherwise we would have done this a dozen hurricanes ago."

    Nonsense! Long is a smart man with strong integrity. That's why he's been re-elected for years and years upon end. He doesn't let the insurance companies get away with their cheating and conniving that has been going on in New Orleans.

    I remember his actions after Hurricane Fran came through when those touting to be tree removal teams came in and tried to heartily bleed the neighborhoods for tree removal. Long (and Easley) not only stopped them from overcharging, and out-right stealing in some cases, and even brought some of them to court and prison.

    I don't believe that Hunt would have ever done that...would just have said it was the cost of the storm.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Sep 11, 2007

    "The whole goal is, one, to be able to get insurance coverage, flood, wind and standard homeowners and then, second, to get it at a decent rate," said Long.

    And three, that those with nice homes on the coast would get a clue, fortify their own homes and would stop making the lowly taxpayers to pay every time a storm takes their beach away.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Made In USA Sep 11, 2007

    I hope that these people building and buying these new coastal homes that are popping up in "Hurricane Alley" have the strictest building codes imposed on them. Not only will these homes on our coast one day end up raising everyone's insurance premiums, but they will also inflict hardships on those of us who's hearts force us to send "releif supplies" to their areas when a hurricane does eventually hit...and one day it will. Where they're building is like someone pitching a tent in the middle of Capital Blvd during rush hour. I say stop passing out building permits now on our coast.