Some Want Stronger Building Codes in NC

Wed October 26, 2005 - Southeast Edition
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RALEIGH, NC (AP) Legislative leaders are interested in convening a study commission to examine how the state can better prepare and respond to hurricanes in the wake of Katrina and Ophelia.

Senate leader Marc Basnight, D-Dare, said he wants a joint House-Senate commission to examine how to strengthen building codes in the state, particularly at the coast, to prevent structural damage.

“The kind of building that goes on at the coast has to change,” Basnight said. “Those buildings that are put in harm’s way are catching damage each and every time.”

Hurricane Ophelia left the North Carolina coast behind with relatively mild damage compared to other storms, particularly on the Outer Banks.

“It seems to me that we’re pretty lucky,” Basnight said. But he doesn’t believe the code is stringent enough to protect North Carolina from a storm the strength of Katrina.

He said new public buildings, particularly schools at the coast, should have to reach the higher standards, as would shingles, walls and glass windows for beach homes and other buildings.

Basnight, who would want recommendations from any committee before the Legislature reconvenes next spring, said he saw too many shingles peel off houses during Ophelia, a category 1 storm.

“We need a shingle that tolerates high winds,” he said.

House Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg, has been talking examining the state’s preparedness to respond to disasters.