Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hurricane Andrew disaster brought statewide system of building codes

Hurricane Andrew's greatest impact on the building industry wasn't stronger nails or bigger trusses.

It was a statewide building-code system.

Florida now regulates the inspection and enforcement of building codes and requires training and licensing for building officials and contractors. Continuing education is also required.

Building officials and contractors can now be disciplined for not meeting requirements — something not done in 1992.

"This is the most fundamental change," said Douglas Buck, a director at the Florida Home Builders Association. "It's not just the building codes. It's whether you are complying with the codes."

On July 1, 2001, after fierce debate, the state adopted the stricter building codes with special provisions for new homes near the coast. The statewide system covers everything from roofing requirements to inspections to window protection.

It also required that many new coastal homes and buildings include hurricane shutters, impact-resistant glass or special internal construction designed to strengthen walls. The new code system unified hundreds of local building codes throughout the state.

Miami-Dade and Broward counties also adopted a stricter building code after Hurricane Andrew.

The tougher requirements now stand out.

In January, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety recognized Florida for having one of the best code systems in the county. The group examined 18 hurricane-prone states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Texas.

Florida shared the top ranking with Virginia. Mississippi ranked last.

Prior to Andrew, Buck said it was common for building inspectors to not know the construction standards needed in their jurisdictions.

While working in state government, Buck helped create the licensing, education and training for the industry.

Still, he said, there is room for improvement.

"Your code is only as good as your system to make sure you're compliant," Buck said. "Once you're compliant, you can ask if we need more codes."

Mark Puente can be reached at or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at

Hurricane Andrew disaster brought statewide system of building codes 05/18/12 [Last modified: Friday, May 18, 2012 12:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rubio: Critics distorting facts on Senate health care bill


    Sen. Marco Rubio this morning defended the Senate GOP health care proposal -- though still not saying definitively he's in support -- and accused critics of distorting facts about the number of people who could lose coverage.

  2. Florida issues school grades: F's down, A's and B's up


    Florida's school grades showed marked improvement in 2016-17, according to the results released Wednesday morning.

    Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart
  3. 'Big Bang Theory' star Johnny Galecki loses home to California wildfire


    Johnny Galecki, star of the Big Bang Theory, lost his ranch to a large California fire.


  4. Dali a father? He would need to have sex first


    One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, 28 years dead, is about to be pulled from the grave to settle a paternity claim. The case could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Horst P. Horst's portrait of Salvador Dali from the 1930s. [Image from the Dali Museum.]
  5. Aramis Ayala defends stance against death penalty: 'I did what I believe was proper'

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Aramis Ayala, the elected Orlando prosecutor who refuses to seek the death penalty, defended her actions Wednesday as she faced a flurry of hostile questions from Florida Supreme Court justices.

    Orlando prosecutor Aramis Ayala, far right, said she was "very well pleased" with her lawyer's case. "I violated no laws." [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]