Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Dehring and Halek on Building Codes and Hurricane Damage

Carolyn A. Dehring and Martin Halek (both of the University of Georgia) have posted Do Coastal Building Codes Mitigate Hurricane Damage to Residential Property? on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

In this paper we explore whether increased coastal building standards imposed by federal and state level initiatives are effective in mitigating losses to coastal property. We first examine if the coastal building code regime under which a property is constructed affects the likelihood of hurricane induced residential property damage. Then, for those properties which incur hurricane damage, we examine whether the extent of damage is explained by the relevant coastal building code regime. Our analysis shows that those properties built following coastal building code changes associated with the National Flood Insurance Program were more likely to sustain damage relative to similarly located pre-National Flood Insurance Program construction. For those damaged properties, we find the extent of damage is greater for post-National Flood Insurance Program construction, where damage is increasing in the required base flood elevation. Our findings that federal and state mandated coastal building codes changes are ineffective as ex-ante mitigation of property losses from hurricanes are of significant concern, especially as population growth and real estate development continue in high risk coastal areas.

Ben Barros

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