Hurricane-prone states with weak building codes have done nothing in the last 18 months to improve their codes and are falling further behind on best building practices, according to the latest update to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety's "Rating the States Report."
The update looks whether the 18 states along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts have improved their building codes since the last report in January 2012.
The institute found that most of the states with strong building rules in 2012 have updated to the most recent model building codes, while the states with low scores in the original report have done nothing to improve their codes.
The institute plans to issue a new report in 2015, which will revise the rating for each state based on actions taken since the original report. The January 2012 report scored states on a 100-point scale on the strength of their building codes and enforcement.
States that acted to improve their codes in the last 18 months, along with their original scores: Florida (95); Virginia (95); South Carolina (84); Connecticut (81); Rhode Island (78); Maryland (73); Georgia (66); New York (60); and Alabama (18).
Seven states took no action. Those states and their January 2012 scores:
New Jersey (93); Massachusetts (87); Maine (64); New Hampshire (49); Texas (18); Delaware (17); and Mississippi (4). Mississippi, the lowest scoring state, has no regulatory system for building codes.
Meanwhile, North Carolina, which scored 81 in 2012, and Louisiana, which scored 73, weakened their building codes, the institute said.
Building codes are intended to increase the safety and integrity of structures, thereby reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from hurricanes and other hazards.