WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 9, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) commends the Maryland Legislature for passing SB 750 / HB 769, which prohibits local jurisdictions from weakening the wind design and windborne debris provisions of the Maryland Building Performance Standards. The bill is on its way to Governor Martin O’Malley who is expected to sign it soon.
By focusing on wind and wind-borne debris, SB 750 / HB 769 addresses a source of significant potential damage in Maryland, not only along the Atlantic coast and Chesapeake Bay, but also in inland areas that also may be subject to winds from hurricanes and tropical storms, extra-tropical cyclones, nor’easters and other massive winter storms, as well as certain tornadic winds.
“We know Maryland is subject to severe weather with high winds and windborne debris, which is why it is so important to maintain these protections throughout the state,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “For example, just last year, there were two federal declarations of major disasters in Maryland – one was for severe storms and straight-line derecho winds, and the other was Hurricane Sandy, both of which caused significant property and economic damage well beyond the coastal areas.
“Allowing local jurisdictions to weaken the wind-resistance portion of the state building code could reduce the protections afforded to home and business owners, destroy the concept of baseline protection for all, and complicate the design and building processes,” said Rochman. “Wind design and windborne debris protections in the most vulnerable areas should not be compromised in order to save money in the short term. By correcting this problem, the legislature avoided potentially cheaper costs upfront, but much more expensive long-term costs for homeowners, communities, the state, and the natural environment.”
“One of IBHS’ highest priorities is the adoption and enforcement of strong, mandatory statewide building codes,” said Rochman. “Like other effective mitigation measures, strong building codes can save lives, promote long-term fiscal stability, reduce public sector response and recovery costs, protect the environment, and create a more resilient society.”
IBHS is a leading national expert in disaster preparedness – and repairing and rebuilding structures after a catastrophe to make them more disaster-resistant. To arrange an interview with IBHS, contact Joseph King at 813-675-1045/813-442-2845, or via direct message on Twitter @jsalking.
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About the IBHS – IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks on residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices.