56 THE COASTAL BEND MAGAZINE • Fall 2018 TheCoastalBend.com Contributed by Adrian Sainz W hen Category 5 Hurricane Andrew damaged or destroyed more than 125,000 Florida homes and left about 250,000 people home- less in south Miami-Dade County, the destruction was born from a mix of 165 m.p.h. winds, outdated building codes, shoddy con- struction and poor inspection practices. That was 1992. Andrew’s legacy takes the form of a state building code that was tested during the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes and is still being adjusted and researched today. The code’s purpose is to protect lives, help reduce property losses in a storm and provide a guide for insurance companies to determine rates. “There’s no question that more homes withstood the impact and therefore more property was salvaged and lives probably were saved as a result of the better building standards [established after Andrew],” said Jon Peck, spokesman for the state Department of Community Affairs. “Hurricane Andrew taught us a lot about what you should do and what you should not do.” Homebuilders, contractors and insurers, along with state and local govern- ments, responded after Andrew caused about $16 billion in insured damage. The storm exposed inadequate code standards that were based on old data or flagrant violations that slipped inspection. In some cases, there were not enough nails affixing plywood sheets to roof trusses, or the nails used weren’t strong enough. In others, unprotected win- dows and doors were too weak to withstand flying debris. Many of the dam- aged or destroyed roofs were not braced or strapped down properly, and roof shingles and tiles were not properly installed. In 2004, Florida adopted the International Building Code as a model, add- ing some Florida-specific aspects. New homes are built according to the code, and breaks on insurance rates await homeowners who retrofit their homes to comply with current standards. The code also established new standards for roofing, created more thorough inspection processes and required that products used in home construction meet approved hurricane standards. Of course, nothing happens without legislative action at the state level, and mas- sive reform of the Texas building code like what was done in Florida, is a long shot in a staunchly anti-regulation political environment. We shall see if the les- sons of Harvey will result in action. —The Editor WILL PAINFUL LESSONS OF HARVEY RESULT IN REAL ACTION? ANDREW IN 1992 DID IT FOR FLORIDA.