The Florida Hurricane Building Code was enacted in 1974 to provide protection for the people of Florida who live and work along the coastal areas of the state. The code, which covers all projects in the state, makes it possible for property owners to build hurricane-resistant structures like homes, schools, government buildings, and many other properties. It also lays down specifications for hurricane constructions in low-lying coastal areas, and spells out criteria for such structures where the need may arise. This includes a minimum height of the building’s roof, provided that no building can be taller than 48 feet.
The Florida Hurricane Building Code was revised in 2021. Since that time the code has been updated several times, most recently with the hurricane season ending. That meant that there were numerous changes and additions to the various sections of the code, most notably the building codes for schools. Those changes included requirements that schools purchase a certain amount of insurance coverage to protect students, faculty, staff, and others from natural disasters and fire outbreaks. This law requires each school to buy hurricane insurance, which meets the standards laid out by the code.
The Florida Hurricane Building Code has helped make hurricane safety much more manageable for property owners across the state. In addition to the requirement of insurance coverage, the code stipulates several other guidelines, including how much flood damage is allowed to property owners, what structural modifications must be made to structures to make them hurricane-proof, and the kinds of anchor systems that should be used in order to prevent soil erosion. It is important to note, however, that many of the provisions in the code also pertain to the Coastal Barrier Resource Areas Act (CBRA). CBRA requires that any public improvements in coastal areas be designed and built in accordance with the provisions of the Florida Hurricane Building Code. While the CBRA may not specifically address hurricane safety, the code does provide building professionals with some helpful information in making decisions regarding design and construction of structures in low-lying areas.