Mississippi Ranks Last in Hurricane Building Code Adoption

Chris Westfall
Chris Westfall

Mississippi has “virtually no regulatory process” for building code enforcement and places last in a new ranking of 18 hurricane-prone coastal states.

A report issued by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) on Monday analyzes residential building codes along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coast.

The report says that Mississippi — which scored a 4 out a possible 100 — has “no statewide code, no mandatory enforcement, no programs or requirements for inspectors, and very few licensing requirements. General contractors are the only trade required to pass an exam prior to licensing and the state has mechanisms to discipline contractors.”

Mississippi experienced $12 billion in losses following Hurricane Katrina and has 90 miles of coastal property exposure.

By contrast, the report ranks Florida first and praises the state for having well-developed system for building regulation. Florida scored a 95 “due to a combination of strong statewide residential building codes and comprehensive regulatory processes for the building code officials, contractors, and subcontractors who translate building code requirements into actual homes,” according to a IBHS statement.

Other states that scored higher than 90 points in the report include Virginia (95 points), and New Jersey (93 points).

Those states closest to the bottom of the ranking along with Mississippi in the report include Delaware (17 points) and Texas (18 points).

The IBHS said that the new state building code ranking system “is the first of its kind” and and asses individual state building code systems, use of modern building codes, and enforcement related activities.

“The report goes beyond just evaluating each state’s code system,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “The report offers each state the detailed information and tools it needs to improve its building code process to better protect its citizens. It also gives interested citizens useful information so that they can understand the need for, and demand, better building codes.”