New hurricane preparedness report doesn't rank North Carolina well

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North Carolina was the most improved state back in the 2021 version of the same report by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new study by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety shows concerns in North Carolina when it comes to hurricane preparedness.

With hurricane season starting on June 1, it may have coastal residents concerned.

Homes built in the United States must use the International Residential Code (IRC) which are adopted every three years.

Lead research meteorologist with IBHS Dr. Ian Giammanco said building codes are the safety standard designed mostly around structural performance in extreme winds and other severe weather.

“If we at IBHS discover some new vulnerability about a home or a building component, we would then put in a proposal to help fix it and our building codes,” Giammanco explained. “And by adopting those codes regularly, you ensure that those protections are always coming.”

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However, as a state, North Carolina is currently nine years behind as it is still using the IRC that was adopted back in 2015.

“They’re always coming in as new science and new engineering technologies evolve,” Giammanco said. “We make sure we account for any vulnerabilities that we may find. So that’s why it’s really critical to keep those codes updated to make sure that new science and engineering is adopted at a regular intervals.”

In 2023, legislation passed through a veto-override placed a moratorium on new building code adoption through 2031. This means by 2031, North Carolina would be 16 years behind on code adoption.

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This highlights why North Carolina dropped in the new report issued by IBHS. Back in 2021, North Carolina was actually the most improved state. But in this new report, it lost points due to the moratorium as well as “altering opening protection provision.”

When asked for clarification on this, IBHS told WCNC Charlotte North Carolina weakened windows protection requirements in some parts of the states that are susceptible to wind-borne debris.

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