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Climate changed

As Storms Get Stronger, Building Codes Are Getting Weaker

  • Officials ignore warnings from insurers, federal government
  • Home builders push state officials to change the rules

The showdown in the Florida statehouse last year had all the drama of a knock-down political brawl: Powerful industries clashing. Warnings of death and destruction. And a surprise last-minute vote, delivering a sweeping reform bill to the governor’s desk.

The battle wasn’t about gun control, immigration or healthcare, but about making it easier to ignore national guidelines on building codes. To the surprise of the insurers, engineers and safety advocates who opposed the change, the home builders won -- in a state that gets hit by more hurricanes than any other.