FORTIFIED Questions from the International Builders’ Show

ibs-fortified_graphicIt was standing room only when the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) partnered with the National Institute for Building Science (NIBS) to teach a class at the 2013 International Builders’ Show about the science of building high performance homes.

The presentation focused on a number of advancements in building science research, including how full scale testing is revealing hidden vulnerabilities of roof systems and multi-layer wall systems. As a result, builders in attendance learned how to gain an edge in the market by learning what it takes to create a high performance home.

Afterwards, Fred Malik, FORTIFIED program manager, received many questions about the FORTIFIED program. Find the answers to three common questions below as well as a link to his presentation. To find more details about FORTIFIED stronger, safer building standards, please visit


How can FORTIFIED standards help me achieve a high performance home by incorporating disaster resistance and green building practices?

Fred Malik: When it comes to creating a home that’s more resilient, focus on three elements of sustainability – environmental, economic, and social equity.  The term “sustainability” has become synonymous with “green building” and generally refers to preserving natural resources.  However, it can also refer to the ability to tolerate—and overcome—the forces of a natural disaster.  Many homeowners are spending money to make their home “greener” and often more energy efficient. The IBHS FORTIFIED Program maximizes these investments by reducing disaster-related damage, keeping debris from damaged houses out of landfills, and enabling homeowners to return home more quickly following a disaster. This is accomplished by reducing vulnerability to high wind and keeping wind driven rain out of the home.  Find out more, view the FORTIFIED Technical Requirements Summaries available at

How much does a FORTIFIED home cost?

FM: Homes at any price point can be FORTIFIED. The costs vary when it comes to achieving a FORTIFIED® designation depending on your needs. This is due to several factors that fluctuate with the marketplace and include any retrofits that may be necessary in order to qualify for the desired level of designation. Some homes will qualify for designation without being retrofitted, but most will require at least one upgrade.  The cost to achieve a FORTIFIED Home designation can be minimal for new homes under construction and existing homes that are being re-roofed.  Existing homes that need to be retrofitted, but are not ready for re-roofing, will likely require a higher investment.  The first step is having a FORTIFIED Evaluation performed to see what vulnerabilities the home has and what is needed to make it more resilient.

What states recognize FORTIFIED as the basis for insurance incentives?

FM: Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina have required that homes designated under any IBHS  FORTIFIED program receive property insurance credits.  However, incentives are not necessarily limited to these states. Individual property insurers may offer incentives voluntarily, including state windpools in hurricane-prone areas. Homeowners should contact their insurance agent and ask if their insurer has FORTIFIED incentives available in their area.  In addition to insurance incentives, Mississippi also has been awarded a grant from FEMA to offset the expense of retrofitting a qualified existing home.


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