Potential damage from a tropical cyclone might be the last thing you want to consider when searching for your new Florida home, but it should be a primary concern.
Here’s why: good planning = peace of mind.
Florida’s natural beauty and gorgeous climate stems from its tropical setting amid the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. That means the potential for Atlantic Basin storms during each year’s hurricane season — officially June 1 to November 30.
Although most hurricane seasons are quiet in Florida, prospective home-buyers should be prepared rather than worried if a storm forms and warnings are issued.
Here’s what to look for in a hurricane-ready home and the “why” behind it.
It Began With Andrew
This vicious August 1992 hurricane decimated large swaths of South Florida. But, Andrew’s silver lining was a complete overhaul of building codes. In the mid-to-late 1990’s, several South Florida municipalities — Miami-Dade and Broward Counties — were the first to adopt stronger building requirements aimed at reducing construction vulnerability during hurricanes.
The Florida Building Code — Florida’s first statewide building code — took effect in 2002. It drew from seven base codes and incorporated the earlier South Florida “High-Velocity Hurricane Zone” standards. One of the Code’s requirements is that all new Florida homes must be built to withstand wind speeds over 100 miles per hour. That requirement is higher in areas such as South Florida and the Florida Keys. Updates to the Code since 2002 have only strengthened its standards.
Four hurricanes hit Florida in 2004 — Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. All wreaked daunting damage in some areas, but post-storm assessments by University of Florida researchers revealed yet more silver linings. Those UF researchers determined that homes built after 2002, under Florida Building Code mandates, weathered 2004 storm effects with little or no damage. Homes built between 1994 and 2002 held up well, but incurred more damage, particularly the loss of roof shingles. Researchers didn’t survey homes built before 1994.
What Hurricane-Ready Means to the Home-buyer
Less fretting during hurricane season. A trusted home-builder such as ICI Homes utilizes every critical guideline in the Florida Building Code. This means incorporating tested materials and techniques into strong yet pleasing designs for prospective home-buyers.
From impact-resistant window glass and shutters to wind-and-water-resistant roofs, a hurricane-ready home reduces its owner’s heartburn. Even if you must evacuate ahead of an approaching storm, owning a hurricane-ready home gives you confidence that it will withstand a meteorological onslaught.
Reality says no Florida home is immune to storm damage , but buying a hurricane-ready home gives that purchaser a tremendous advantage. Constant revision of building codes and home builders’ diligence in following them gives you a priceless security. Enjoy the best of Florida living without hiding from that weather report! If you’re ready to research a hurricane-ready home, start here. ICI is Florida’s Custom Home Builder.