Panel OKs relaxation of La. statewide building codes

May 16, 2007
Reported by Associated Press

A state House committee has approved a relaxation of the statewide building codes enacted after the 2005 hurricanes, disregarding the objections of the insurance industry.

Insurers applauded when the Legislature approved statewide codes in 2005, just months after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  The intent was to lessen future property damage from hurricanes and other natural disasters by forcing builders to construct buildings and homes to withstand high winds.

But the codes have also provoked complaints from builders and people renovating homes or building new ones, who say the inspection process is too costly.  Those complaints have been loudest from north and central Louisiana, areas not subject to hurricane-force winds.

The House Commerce Committee approved several bills that would change enforcement of the codes. House members are likely to amend them further during floor debate.