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Building Code Report Ranks NJ Number Three [AUDIO]

When it comes to building code standards, New Jersey ranks number three on a list of the 18 most hurricane-prone coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

That’s according to a mid-term update to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety’s Rating the States Report, which also finds that there is still work to be done.

“Since we did our original report in 2012, of the 18 states from Texas to Maine, about half of them had improved their building code systems, which is great,” said Julie Rochman, President and CEO of Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. “New Jersey was up near the top to begin with and unfortunately, hasn’t improved, but they haven’t done any worse either. New Jersey has pretty good building codes in place, but not the newest set of codes. That’s where we want to see improvement.”

New Jersey is currently enforcing the 2009 editions of building codes.

“We’d love to see New Jersey update the codes that are in place. One of the issues you face in New Jersey is a lot of older buildings. So, even though you have newer codes in place, you have a lot of homes that were built well before those codes existed, so many existing homes need to be retrofitted. Also, in New Jersey, there are many slab homes right by the water line. Unless those homes are elevated or moved out of the way, you will see a lot more terrible losses from storms in the future,” said Rochman.

“What Sandy made very clear is that the best way to avoid really horrific flood-related losses is to elevate or get out of the way. Those are your choices,” said Rochman.

“Many places are built right by the water, but water can cause an incredible amount of damage. New Jersey really needs to take some action in the code arena to deal with base flood elevation and getting homes up or out of the way.”

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