FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) –The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety is celebrating a milestone. Since their ‘Fortified Building Program’ began in 2009, there have now been 15 thousand homes built to the higher standards, some 13 thousand of them in Alabama, with many in Mobile and Baldwin Counties.

The program is an effort to encourage builders and homeowners to use the higher standards for new construction and re-roofing to better protect the structures against severe weather, especially high-wind events like tropical storms, hurricanes or tornados.

We visited one new Baldwin County neighborhood, Firethorne, off Highway 181 in Fairhope, where every home is being built to the new standards adopted by the Institute. The key to fortified building starts at the roof, which is better sealed and anchored.

The Institute’s Alex Cary says when a fortified project is completed, the homeowner is given a certificate to show their insurers for a discount of as much as twenty-five percent. She says as of January 1st, insurance companies are being even more proactive to encourage fortified building but offering homeowners endorsements should they suffer roof damage in the future.

“Meaning they’ll get a strengthened roof if they have a claim and the insurance company replaces their roof,” she says.

Even with the success of the program, Cary says there are still some things homeowners need to look out for. That is there are some contractors who say they are providing a fortified home or roof and then not doing it.

“They’re not having that inspection process throughout construction or re-roofing, so the homeowner doesn’t get their certificate at the end,” says Cary.  

Which could result in a trip to the courthouse for both homeowner and contractor.

An event is scheduled for Tuscaloosa next week where the 15 thousandth home built to fortified standards is located.