After a seven month odyssey with the City of Austin Codes Department, our plans to build our next home were approved.
We are looking to implement a number of features of interest to us, as anyone building a custom home would. One of the main features of which I am most appreciative is our decision to build with resiliency in mind.
The beginnings of our new home, which I am calling "Fort Kendel."
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) has a program by which you can have your new or retrofitted construction certified as disaster resistant. Their FORTIFIED program is "a superior building standards program that uses scientific research from the field and at the IBHS Research Center to make residential and commercial construction better withstand severe weather." Homeowners can achieve different levels of certification in the program, which translates to discounts on insurance premiums.
Building with resilience in mind is often cheaper than doing it in a retrofit. So we're doing our best to try to do it right on the front end. We hope this will lead to us having a safe home for decades to come.
What will it cost? I'm working with our builder to determine the "delta" - the cost difference between simply meeting code and meeting IBHS standards. Given the fact we do not have to build to hurricane specifications, we do not believe that it will be a significant cost addition. And given the fact it will reduce our insurance premiums, the extra expense will hopefully be recaptured quickly and actually save us money over a long period of time.
Aside from the life safety and cost savings that resilient buildings provide, it also allows the occupants to be better able to help others in times of disaster. If your home is still on line after a disaster, then you're not having to tend to your own problems. That enables you to be involved in the effort to help others.
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