With the Hurricane Harvey devastation in Houston and the impending doom of Hurricane Irma en route, we thought it would be a good idea to revisit a popular publication written by Newport Partners and ARES Consulting for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development on building Safer, Stronger Homes.
Why should I consider improving the way my home is built? Don’t building codes already ensure a home is safe enough? And doesn’t insurance take care of any damage anyway? How much does it cost and what do I get in return? — These are just a few of the questions that come to mind when considering decisions related to upgrading the construction of your new home.
At a very basic level, most people probably will admit that they want to avoid costly forms of damage to their home, personal contents, and harm to human life. Yet there are natural forces all around us that we often ignore or pay little attention to for various reasons. We tend to assume the big events like hurricanes and earthquakes are already taken care of through building codes. As you read through this document, you will find that building codes don’t fully protect you or your home all of the time. Further, they don’t often address damage from smaller events that can prove costly.
The first step to considering improvements during construction, or mitigation as it is often called, is to become an informed builder or consumer. That is the primary goal of this guide.
Here, you will find that it includes answers to important questions which will help consumers, builders, and others become wise decision-makers. It is not about “pushing” disaster mitigation so much as it is about explaining it so that individuals can make sensible decisions.
How to Use This Guide
This mitigation guide allows you to shop for specific disaster mitigation solutions and associated resources. When you consider one mitigation strategy, other related strategies will be brought to your attention for consideration. Often, you will find that the best value comes in a package deal rather than a piecemeal approach. So, please browse this catalogue for items that make sense to you for your particular situation. And, along the way, pay attention to any other considerations associated with a particular mitigation strategy
BUILDERS: If you already have a strong and current building code in your area, you can use this catalogue to design optional upgrades or include quality features in your homes that will differentiate you from other builders. If you are not in an area where the risk of a disaster is high or if there is an older or no building code, you should first look at the section in this report on the basics of good practice to help prevent damage from ground movements, winds, and flooding.
HOMEBUYERS: Use this catalogue to shop for features you want and to compare builder practices.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
~ B. Franklin