July, 2004
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Blueprint for Safety™ Launches Showcase Homes


Tallahassee, FL—Imagine living in a house so strong that its windows and doors, walls and roof can withstand hurricane-force winds. How about a building frame that won’t budge from its foundation and windows that resist flying debris? Now, imagine all of this in an attractive and functional, newly constructed home.

Strengthening a home with innovative, storm-resistant designs and building materials is a growing trend throughout Florida. Now Tallahassee takes center stage by showcasing the first of its kind Blueprint for Safety™ home.

The Blueprint for Safety™ program, developed by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH, Inc.) is the most comprehensive set of disaster-resistant building techniques available in Florida today. Blueprint for Safety™ offers “code-plus” guidelines for protecting both new and existing homes against flooding, wildfire  and high winds.

FLASH has joined forces with the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Home Builders Association to feature this showcase home during Tallahassee’s 2004 Parade of Homes.

The Tallahassee Blueprint for Safety™ home is the first of four showcase homes being constructed across Florida as a way to encourage builders and future homeowners to construct and purchase new homes built above and beyond current local building codes.

“The Blueprint for Safety™ program is designed to teach builders and homeowners to build strong and build smart,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, FLASH President and CEO. “By using the disaster-resistant designs and products featured in the Blueprint for Safety™ House damage to the home and property can be significantly reduced.”

Tallahassee’s disaster-resistant home was constructed by Glen Coxwell of Coxwell Construction. Located at 9242 Eagle Ridge Road in Golden Eagle, this three-story brick home can withstand wind speeds of 140 mph—as compared to the 110-mph minimum required by the state’s building code.

This home features Winguard Impact-Resistant Windows and Doors from PGT Industries, hurricane clips and straps from Simpson Strong Tie, a Wayne Dalton impact- resistant garage door, and a Generac full-powered generator. Interior 20-foot ceilings built with engineered studs, further bolster the home’s safety. Coxwell added 5/8-inch plywood on all load-bearing walls and the roof deck, and used a weatherization product typically found in mobile homes to seal each window and the roof. Coxwell’s innovative use of the Peal and Seal weatherization product will protect the home from wind-borne rain.

“I’m excited to be the first builder in Tallahassee to incorporate disaster safety products and techniques into a Blueprint for Safety™ showcase home,” said Coxwell. “This home goes far beyond the basics—it’s attractive, functional, and most importantly, it’s disaster-resistant.”

Craig Fugate, Director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, is pleased that builders are incorporating disaster-resistant products into new home construction.

“Each new home constructed with disaster-resistant products ensures the security of the family who will live there,” he said.  “It’s encouraging to see homebuilders taking a proactive approach to protection by building with safety in mind.”
Blueprint for Safety™ materials and technical advice for homeowners and homebuilders are available on CD-ROM, on the Web at www.blueprintforsafety.org via e-mail at flash@flash.org or by calling toll-free 877-221-SAFE.

ASHI Members Michael Conley, Straight Inspection Service, Anna Maria, Fla. and Bill Mason, Second Opinion Home Inspection, Sarasota, Fla., represented ASHI at this year’s FLASH conference.