Hurricane season is never far away when you’re in Alabama. Sadly, a recent study ranked Alabama 15th out of the 18 states near the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean when it comes to building safety.
Statewide codes generally set the standard for how structures are built, especially to withstand acts of nature like hurricanes. While southern Alabama did adopt some building codes in 2012 that emphasized extra protection from wind and water, Alabama has no statewide residential code and no enforcement for the few codes that do exist.
Because of this, there is no state program for certification of building inspectors. In hurricane country, this is a serious issue. Luckily, homeowners can take it upon themselves to ensure their homes are structurally sound and can withstand a hurricane’s fierce winds. Here are some hurricane protection options:
”¢ Hurricane clips. These devices are required for buildings built within five miles of the Gulf of Mexico. They hold a roof in place by shifting the load pressure on the roof through the walls, all the way to the building’s foundation. This is one of the cheapest hurricane protection options; the clips cost less than a dollar apiece, but can be more expensive to install.
”¢ Reinforced windows. These strengthened windows can provide exceptional protection during hurricanes, with the ability to withstand up to 200 mile per hour winds. However, wind protection won’t help against one of the biggest issues in major storms – flying debris.
”¢ Hurricane shutters. To protect buildings from flying debris, many homeowners take advantage of hurricane shutters. However, there is one downside: if a storm strikes when you are away from home, you won’t be able to roll the shutters down. Even if you are at home when the storm hits, some winds kick up so quickly that you can’t roll the shutters down before things begin to fly.
”¢ Hurricane glass. This 3/8-inch thick glass is often one of the best options for homeowners in hurricane country, because you don’t have to do anything to prepare them for the storm. They also have the additional benefit of sound protection.
However, these modifications won’t have a lasting impact unless all homeowners agree to use them. One person’s unprotected house can turn into debris flying at their neighbor’s.
Need more information on statewide codes? Contact us for more information.