Local News

Long Hammers Regulators for Tougher Coastal Building Codes

Posted September 10, 2007 1:41 p.m. EDT
Updated September 10, 2007 1:52 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Jim Long on Monday urged state regulators to strengthen building codes for more protection of coastal properties during storms.

The state is the only one along the southern Atlantic coast that hasn't incorporated stricter requirements into its building codes to fend off wind-borne debris, Long said. Such provisions would mandate plywood shutters, custom shutters or impact-resistant glass in new residential construction.

During hurricanes or strong storms, wind-borne debris can cause damage in multiple ways, he said. Debris that breaks windows allows rain and wind into the house, causing water damage and increasing the air pressure inside structures, which could cause them to explode.

Homes with shutters or impact-resistant windows are protected from such damage in high-wind storms, Long said. Revising the state building codes would allow homeowners to protect themselves quickly, easily and inexpensively before a storm hits, he said.

“Homebuilders and developers balk at adding any codes that require them to do more or spend more during construction, but that’s shortsighted and greedy,” he said. "If stricter measures are not taken to protect our coastal homes, lives and property are put at unnecessary risk, and insurance companies will have even fewer reasons to provide affordable coverage to coastal residents.”

Insurance rates for coastal homeowners continue to rise, partly because of the number and high cost of claims paid in that area, Long said.