Congressional Roundtable



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About the Wildfire Ember Storm Demonstration



Congressional Roundtable Bios 

The Safe Building Code Incentive Act

The Effectiveness of Strong Building Codes

About BuildStrong

IBHS Wildfire Resources

About the IBHS Research Center

Creating Fire Adapted Communities


Wildfire Ember Storm Test Demonstration

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) studied wildfire effects on structures to highlight actions consumers can take to lower the risk of their home or business igniting during an ember attack. Ember attacks can occur when a wildfire is within a mile or so upwind of the property and generally become most intense when the wildfire approaches the property. Ember attacks involve small burning embers or firebrands driven by wind. These embers can penetrate attic vents, soffits and other openings, collect on complex roof surfaces and start spot fires that lead to flame impingement on the building. Embers can smolder, undetected, and can eventually cause buildings to burn from the inside out or the outside in.

Importance of Research

Most buildings that burn during a wildfire are ignited by fires started by embers, not by direct contact with flames associated with the wildfire flame front. The research conducted at the IBHS Research Center in 2011, was the first time that a full-scale ember storm was created in a controlled environment to test the resilience of various construction practices, design features, building materials and landscaping materials on a full-size residential specimen.

Details About Nov. 12 Wildfire Ember Test Demonstration

  • IBHS researchers conducted a highly realistic wildfire simulation to explore how ember storms, which are the greatest danger to homes and businesses in the wildland-urban interface, ignite structures.

  • A test specimen resembling a home was positioned on the turntable in the test chamber. The test specimen had roll roofing, vinyl gutters, vinyl windows, a front door with a glass window, cedar shingle siding, and a wood lattice fence attached to the “home.”

  • There was a firewood pile next to the home, bark mulch around the home, and juniper-type vegetation (shrubs) in front of the home and the fence.

  • The home was subjected to a wind-blown ember shower to demonstrate how the selected design features, building materials, and landscaping materials could be ignited.

  • The demonstration lasted approximately 20-25 minutes.

  • The congressional delegation and other guests viewed the test from an observation room with 18-foot tall, impact resistant windows into the test chamber.

  • Media representatives covered the demonstration from a safe zone inside the test chamber.



2013 Wildfire Ember Storm Test Demonstration Highlights

2011 Wildfire Ember Storm Test Demonstration Highlights



2013 Wildfire Ember Storm Test Demonstration (11/12/2013)

Day Before the Demonstration (11/11/2013)

2011 Wildfire Ember Storm Test Demonstration


Congressional Roundtable Bios

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) 

Chairman, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Throughout his career in the House, Congressman Bill Shuster has proven himself to be a leader on local and national issues, and an outspoken advocate for the people of the 9th Congressional District of Pennsylvania.  

Congressman Shuster is committed to bringing greater opportunity and a better standard of living to the people of the 9th district through his focus on economic development and transportation infrastructure.  As Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Shuster continues to work to secure important funding for roadway projects in the 9th district as well as infrastructure improvements throughout Western Pennsylvania. One of the largest committees in Congress, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee currently has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation: aviation, maritime and waterborne transportation, roads, mass transit and railroads.

Shuster has served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee since coming to Congress in 2001. He previously served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management.

In addition to Congressman Shuster’s expanded role on transportation policy, he continues to be an active voice in support of our Armed Services and a recognized leader on national security matters.  Shuster serves on the House Armed Services Committee, which provides him valuable insight into the Global War on Terror and how our military should transform to meet emerging threats, especially the threat of Islamic fundamentalism.

In addition to his regular committee work, Chairman McKeon named Shuster to serve as the chairman of a special panel to investigate the challenges small and medium sized businesses face in doing business with the Department of Defense.  The Special Panel on Challenges in the Defense Industry has held roundtables across the country with businesses and hearings with DOD personnel in Washington, DC to find out what Congress must do to reduce barriers to entry and expand our national defense industrial base. 

Prior to coming to Congress, Shuster worked on his family’s farm in Bedford County, gained valuable marketing and management experience with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Corporation as well as with Bandag Incorporated where he served as District Manager.  He is also an experienced small business owner, having owned and operated an automobile dealership, in East Freedom, Pennsylvania.

Shuster was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania on January 10, 1961.  After graduating from Everett High School he attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History.  Shortly thereafter he went on to earn a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from American University in Washington, D.C.

Congressman Shuster resides in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania with his wife and two children. 

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) 

Chairman, Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Representative Louis J. Barletta proudly represents his hometown of Hazleton and the people of Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District. He began his second term on January 3, 2013.

Representative Barletta was first sworn in on January 5, 2011. He immediately started serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which plays a critical role in the economic development of and job growth in Northeastern and South Central Pennsylvania, and the Education and Workforce Committee, which focuses on how our nation can improve its educational system so we have competitive, qualified workers in the future.

He remains on these committees during his second term in office.  Additionally, Rep. Barletta was appointed Chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Also for his second term, Rep. Barletta was assigned to the Committee on Homeland Security, which was established in 2002 to provide congressional oversight for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and better protect the American people against a possible terrorist attack. The committee has jurisdiction over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), and the U.S. Coast Guard; border security programs including efforts to achieve operational control of the border; and border smuggling and trafficking of drugs, humans, currency, weapons and other illicit materials. The committee also has jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), counterterrorism efforts, cybersecurity, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport security, and more.

Illegal immigration is a very important subject for Representative Barletta, who first tackled the problem when he was mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Lou Barletta was the first mayor in the country to introduce and sign into law local ordinances cracking down against businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens. He has since become a national figure in the fight against illegal immigration.

During his first term in Congress, Representative Barletta formed the 112th Class Immigration Reform Caucus, which brings together members of the historic 2011-12 “freshmen” class. Representative Barletta chairs this caucus as it examines solutions to the country’s illegal immigration problems.

Also during his first term, Representative Barletta used his position on the Small Business Committee to fight to reduce the interest rate charged on certain Small Business Administration disaster recovery loans after massive flooding devastated the 11th District in September 2011. 

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)

Mario Diaz-Balart is currently fulfilling his 6th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. At the beginning of the 112th Congress, Diaz-Balart was asked to serve on one of the most prestigious committees: House Committee on Appropriations. As part of the House Committee on Appropriations, he sits on three of its subcommittees: Vice-Chair of Financial Services, State and Foreign Operations, and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies.

Diaz-Balart was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 to represent Florida’s 25th Congressional district, which at the time, covered portions of Miami-Dade County, Collier County, and Monroe County. Diaz-Balart continued to represent the three counties until 2010, when he ran unopposed for Florida’s 21st Congressional district. After the 2012 redistricting cycle, he ran for the newly redrawn 25th Congressional district, to which he was elected. The 25th district now includes parts of Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier, and Hendry Counties.

Prior to his time in Congress, Diaz-Balart served 14 years in the Florida State Legislature in both chambers, House and Senate. At age 31, Diaz-Balart became the youngest person ever elected to the Florida Senate, as well as the first Hispanic to serve as Chair of the Combined Appropriations / Ways and Means / Finance and Tax Committee. During his tenure in the state legislature, he consistently ranked among the most effective legislators in Florida, developing a reputation as a budget hawk, and supporting minority rights.

In Washington, Diaz-Balart has consistently supported and worked to lower taxes, allowing families and small businesses to keep more of their hard-earned money. In 2008, Diaz-Balart introduced, the Keep Our Homes Act (H.R. 5962), which offered responsible tax relief to those who have taken the right steps but are struggling to make monthly payments on their mortgages. He sponsored other legislation introducing, the Tax Relief for Families Act (H.R. 411), which would make the state and local sales tax deduction, the child tax credit, the marriage penalty relief, the college deduction and the schoolteacher expense deduction permanent and would repeal the death tax. He also introduced the Commuter Aid and Relief for Suburbs Act or CARS Act (H.R. 5905), a bill that would enable commuters to write off commuting expenses from their taxes. Diaz-Balart also introduced the Safe Building Code Incentive Act (H.R. 1878), which would provide states an additional four percent of post-disaster funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration for adopting and enforcing model building codes issued by the International Code Council. 

Diaz-Balart has also been a strong proponent of improving public safety and transportation. Throughout his tenure in Congress, Diaz-Balart has helped deliver millions of federal dollars for the I-75 widening project and Miami-Dade Transit. As a true South Floridian, the Everglades restoration has been an ongoing project for Diaz-Balart. As founder and co-chairman of the Everglades Caucus, he has consistently fought to secure billions for the overall restoration and prevented massive funding cuts in recent years. Diaz-Balart has promoted hurricane preparedness and ensured federal relief for Florida in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Rita.

Diaz-Balart was born on September 25, 1961 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Rafael and Hilda Diaz-Balart, and the youngest of four brothers (Rafael, Lincoln, and Jose). He studied Political Science at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Diaz-Balart currently resides in Miami, FL with his wife and son.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)

Mick Mulvaney was elected in November, 2010, as the new US Congressman for South Carolina’s 5th District.

A lifelong Carolinas resident, Mick attended Georgetown University where he graduated with honors in International Economics, Commerce, and Finance and graduated as an Honor Scholar – the highest award given to students of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. After college, Mick attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. He completed his formal education at Harvard Business School’s OPM program in 2006.

Mick has broad business experience across many fields. After practicing law following graduating law school, Mick started his own law firm. Later, he ran the family real estate business then started a small homebuilding company. He was also a minority shareholder in a restaurant franchise company, and even owned and operated his own restaurant.

Mick has used his educational, professional, and business background to bring a focus on jobs, business, and the economy to his work in Congress. He currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee as well as the House Small Business Committee.  For more information on Mick’s committee assignments, follow the “About Mick” tab and click on “Committees.”  Mick is also an active member of the Republican Study Committee. 

He has been active locally, as a founding member of the Indian Land Rotary and a member of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church and founding member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Mission.

Mick and Pam were married in 1998, and are the proud parents of triplets.

Julie Rochman 

President & CEO, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

Congressional Roundtable Moderator

Julie Rochman joined IBHS in late 2007 with more than 20 years of public affairs and advocacy experience representing major corporations, research and safety organizations, and issue-based coalitions. She is often quoted by both traditional and digital media outlets on a wide variety of topics.

Prior to IBHS, Julie held senior positions at a leading Washington, D.C.-based strategic communication and advocacy firm; at the American Insurance Association; and at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. She now serves on several advisory councils and the National Fire Protection Association Board of Directors – and previously served on Boards for the International Hurricane Research Center, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Julie earned a BA in International Relations from Tulane University, and a MA in American Government from the University of Virginia. She resides in Tampa.

Angela Schwartz

Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Angela Schwartz is on special assignment to the Department of Homeland Security as Senior Advisor to the Department’s Secretary and Assistant Secretary for Policy. In this capacity, Ms. Schwartz is responsible for advancing the Secretary and President’s agenda on Resilience.  One emphasis of her responsibilities is to lead efforts to analyze, evaluate, and assess development of the Resilience StarTM program, a comprehensive approach to reduce damage from natural disasters and aid in recovery to achieve national resilience.

Ms. Schwartz’s home agency is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she serves as the Associate Director for Policy, Strategic Planning and Evaluation.  She serves as strategic plan advisor to the Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHPR) Director providing guidance on planning, strategic leadership, strategic management, and processes related to accomplishment of programmatic activities. She is the principal contact to all substantive congressional committee staff on legislative matters and is responsible for leading cross-functional management teams focused on strategic planning and direction, budget formulation, legislative policy, congressional testimony, and partnership programs for PHPR. 

Ms. Schwartz has over 25 years of expertise across both the private sector and federal government.  Prior to CDC, she was Vice President, Head of Product Management & Strategy at Travelport, a $4B business-to-business (B2B) Information Technology company focused on travel suppliers. She was responsible for leading the global product strategy, product management, product innovation, budgeting, and product marketing functions for Airline IT Solutions with P&L accountability for the airline IT portfolio covering a broad range of IT solutions including passenger service systems, business intelligence, mobile solutions, and revenue accounting systems. 

Before that, she was at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global $4B management consulting firm, as a Principal in the Atlanta office specializing in human capital management, operational process improvement, cost take-out, transformational change management, and stakeholder engagement. In this capacity she oversaw strategic planning, process improvement and quantitative analysis for both government and Fortune 200 client corporations in order to achieve organizational goals and increase their competitive advantage within domestic and international markets. At BCG, she was recognized with intellectual thought leadership on centers of excellence for human capital management and transformational change management.

Ms. Schwartz spent 12 years at Microsoft where she held leadership positions spanning product development, consulting practice management, advocacy and alliance management, business development, sales management, and global retail industry strategy. She also worked in the European Theater at the Department of Defense as a strategic analyst. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration in International Business from Mercer University.

Ray Farmer

Director, South Carolina Department of Insurance

Ray Farmer was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to serve as Director for the South Carolina Department of Insurance November 13, 2012.  With more than thirty-three years experience, Mr. Farmer received his degree in Insurance from the University of Southern Mississippi and earned his law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. 

Mr. Farmer served as the Deputy Insurance Commissioner of the Enforcement Division for the Georgia Department of Insurance and more recently Vice President for the American Insurance Association.  As a part of his service, Mr. Farmer has served for over thirty years on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Arson Control Program, an organization aiding fire fighters and prosecutors combating arson.  Mr. Farmer is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and a member of the Tort and Insurance Practice section as well as the Workers’ Compensation section.

In 2012, Ray was awarded the Herman Hass Award by the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia for service to the insurance industry and in 2012 he received a Presidential Citation for Outstanding Service to the insurance industry from the Professional Insurance Agents of Georgia.

Mr. Farmer is a native of Atlanta and he and his wife, Gayle, have two children and five grandchildren.  

Chief William R. “Bill” Metcalf 

President and Chairman of the Board, International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)

Chief Bill Metcalf is the Fire Chief for the North County Fire Protection District in Fallbrook, California, a suburb of San Diego, and has served in that position since 2003. He started his fire service career in 1974 with the Anne Arundel County (Maryland) Fire Department and also served with the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District in Incline Village, Nevada. Chief Metcalf has also served in a number of senior management positions in state government, non-profit, and for-profit organizations. 

A member of the IAFC since 1995, Chief Metcalf has previously served as the Chair of the Emergency Management Committee, Vice-Chair of the National Centers Task Force, Vice Chair of the National Fire Service Mutual Aid Response System Task Force (MASTF), member of the Homeland Security Council, and as Secretary for the EMS Section. Currently, Chief Metcalf also serves on the Board of Directors for the International Fire Service Research Center and Policy Institute as Treasurer. At home he is a Past President of the San Diego County Fire Districts Association and a past Board member of the San Diego County Fire Chiefs Association. Chief Metcalf has an associate’s degree in paramedic sciences, a bachelor’s degree in management, and a master’s degree in organizational leadership. He is also a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program and is a Chief Fire Officer designate.

Henry L. Green

Hon. AIA, President, National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS)

The National Institute of Building Sciences appointed Henry L. Green as President and CEO in August 2008. Prior to this appointment, Henry served as Executive Director of the Bureau of Construction Codes in the Michigan Department of Labor for more than 19 years. Henry was a founding member of the International Code Council Board of Directors, completing a term as President in 2006. He served as a member of the National Institute of Building Sciences Board of Directors for eight years, completing a term as Chairman in 2003. Henry was a member of the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) Board of Directors for ten years, holding the position of President in 1997. 

James “Jim” F. Dalton 

Vice Chair, Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI)

Jim Dalton’s fire service career spanned 17 years in Montgomery County (MD) where he progressed through the ranks to the position of Assistant Fire Chief. He was then appointed Chief Fire Marshal for Montgomery County, a position he held until November of 1983, when he accepted a position with the International Society of Fire Service Instructors.  In the fall of 1986, Jim became a consultant to the International Association of Fire Chiefs to develop and deliver a series of residential fire sprinkler workshops. A year later he was appointed Director of Operation Life Safety.  In July of 1993 he accepted a position as Director of Public Fire Protection for the National Fire Sprinkler Association. In September of 2009 Jim retired from his full time position with NFSA, but continues work on fire protection legislation initiatives on Capitol Hill.

Bruce Carrell

President, The Carrell Group

Bruce is responsible for the executive leadership of the Company and for all construction activities. Bruce has been a licensed General Contractor in North and South Carolina since the late 1980’s. He is an honors graduate of the Indiana University School of Business, and has received many building achievement awards including “Builder of the Year” from the Horry County Homebuilders Association in 1993.

Bruce’s grandfather was a homebuilder and master carpenter. Bruce learned his early building skills from his father, Denny Carrell, and carries on a proud tradition of three generations of building. While Bruce enjoys building homes and commercial buildings, his true passion is the design side of the process. He has drawn literally thousands of plans and enjoys interacting with our clients, learning what their dreams and goals are, and developing designs that accomplish for them.

Eric Nelson 

Vice President, Catastrophe Strategy & Analysis, Travelers Insurance

Eric M. Nelson is Vice President of Enterprise Catastrophe Strategy & Analysis for Travelers. Mr. Nelson coordinates the evaluation of risk and partners with business units to develop pricing and underwriting strategies related to catastrophes.  In conjunction with his role at Travelers, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and the Build Strong Coalition.  Also, Mr. Nelson serves currently as Chairman of the IBHS Research Center.

Mr. Nelson joined Travelers more than 20 years ago as a file clerk working during his college breaks.  After graduating from Bryant University with a Finance Degree, he began work in Commercial Lines Reserves and Financial Services.   In 2001, Mr. Nelson accepted a position within Personal Insurance to assist in the development of the Personal Lines growth strategy.  During his tenure in Personal Insurance, he oversaw the product, pricing and underwriting functions for the $1.75 billion Northern and South Central regions, was instrumental in developing the Travelers by-peril homeowners product and established a dedicated Risk Management team within Personal Insurance.  

In addition to his enterprise responsibilities, Mr. Nelson coordinates Travelers corporate efforts to develop a legislative solution to the coastal insurance crisis that many communities face today.  Mr. Nelson presented Travelers’ proposed Coastal Wind Zone Plan at more than 25 events during the last three years.  The Travelers Coastal Wind Zone plan has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, A.M. Best Magazine, Rough Notes, the Sun Herald and more than 50 additional online publications. 


The Safe Building Code Incentive Act

Bill Overview:

The Safe Building Code Incentive Act of 2013 was introduced on May 8, 2013 by U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25). The legislation was referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is currently pending action before the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management.

The Safe Building Code Incentive Act amends the Stafford Act to provide an additional four percent of funding for post-disaster grants from the Federal Emergency Management Administration for states that adopt and enforce model building codes issued by the International Code Council. 

Strong building codes are a proven defense against natural disasters. The goal of the Safe Building Code Incentive Act is to encourage widespread, statewide adoption of model building codes as a disaster mitigation strategy.

The legislation currently has 31 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives: (U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (NJ-8), U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews (NJ-1), U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-16), U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN-8), U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17), U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY-9), U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (OK-4), U.S. Rep. Gerald Connolly (VA-11), U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (CA-10), U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), U.S. Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (PA-8), U.S. Rep. Christopher Gibson (NY-19), U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (NY-3), U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-6), U.S. Rep. Peter King (NY-2), U.S. Rep. David Loebsack (IA-2), U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud (ME-2), U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10), U.S. Rep. Eleanor Norton Holmes (DC), U.S. Rep. William Owens (NY-21), U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo (MS-4), U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ-9), U.S. Rep. Thomas Rooney (FL-17), U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15), U.S. Rep. Carol Shea Porter (NH-1), U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (FL-2), U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (OH-15), U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (NY-20) and U.S. Rep. Todd Young (IN-9).

There are currently 10 states and the District of Columbia that would qualify for additional disaster relief assistance upon enactment of the Safe Building Code Incentive Act. Those states include: California, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. Another 13 states have adopted statewide building codes and would be eligible for additional disaster relief with minor modifications to their codes. Those states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia.

The sponsors of the Safe Building Code Incentive Act are striving to make the enforcement of strong building codes the national norm, instead of the exception.


The Effectiveness of Strong Building Codes

Key Facts:

In the past two years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there have been 25 major disasters, each of which has caused more than $1 billion in economic losses. When the final costs associated with Superstorm Sandy are tabulated, the economic toll of these disasters is likely to near $200 billion. There is an urgent need in Congress to pass the Safe Building Code Incentive Act to fortify the nation’s defenses against future disasters.

The enforcement of strong building codes at the statewide level provides the best first line of defense against future natural disasters. When homes and office buildings are constructed using the best practices of modern building science it is simply harder for Mother Nature to knock them down.

The scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of strong building codes as a disaster mitigation strategy is overwhelming.

  • In a landmark study conducted in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, researchers at the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center estimated that strong building codes could have reduced wind damage by 80%, saving $8 billion.

  • A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety estimated that Florida’s modern building codes helped reduce the cost of property damage from Hurricane Charley by more than 40 percent.

  • Another study commissioned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that was conducted by the National Institute of Building Sciences in 2005, found that for every $1 dollar invested in disaster mitigation activities, such as the adoption and enforcement of strong building codes, the nation saves $4 in future disaster losses.

  • Finally, another comprehensive study conducted by the respected Milliman firm found that widespread adoption of strong building codes would have reduced FEMA-related hurricane costs by $11 billion over a two decade period.

First responders, emergency management experts and insurers agree. The adoption and enforcement of strong building codes will help save lives, protect property and ultimately reduce taxpayer exposure to natural disasters.


About BuildStrong

BuildStrong is a coalition of national business and consumer organizations, companies, and emergency management officials dedicated to promoting stronger building codes. The BuildStrong Coalition urges enactment of The Safe Building Code Incentive Act. This legislation would encourage states to adopt model building codes to protect property and ultimately save lives from the devastation of natural disasters.

Our coalition members include:

The American Institute of Architects

American Society of Civil Engineers

Allstate Insurance Company

American Insurance Association

Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute

Congressional Fire Services Institute

Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers

Farmers Insurance Group of Companies

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes

Financial Services Roundtable

Firemen’s Association of the State of New York

Florida Association of Counties

Florida Emergency Preparedness Association

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety

Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America

International Association of Fire Chiefs

International Code Council

Liberty Mutual Insurance


National Association of State Fire Marshals

National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

National Council of Structural Engineers Association

National Fire Protection Association

National Institute of Building Sciences

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association

Nationwide Insurance

NeighborWorks America

Professional Insurance Agents

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

Reinsurance Association of America

Simpson Strong-Tie Co



State Farm Insurance Companies

The Hartford



IBHS Wildfire Resources



IBHS Wildfire Brochures

About the IBHS Research Center

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) Research Center is a unique, state-of-the-art, multi-risk applied research and training in Chester County, South Carolina. This facility is a tangible, very public demonstration of the property insurance industry’s deep commitment to reducing and preventing losses that disrupt the lives of millions of home and business owners each year. The scientific research conducted here will influence residential and commercial structural design and construction for decades to come, and will significantly advance building science by enabling researchers to more fully and accurately evaluate various residential and commercial construction materials and systems.

IBHS Research Center Photo Timeline


IBHS Research Center

Find out more information about IBHS’ unique, state-of-the-art, multi-risk applied research and training facility in Richburg, South Carolina.



Residential Construction Test Videos

View footage of residential construction hazard tests at the IBHS Research Center.