New Metro codes mandate requires homes and buildings to withstand 115 mph winds

Severe Weather

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The tornado that roared through Nashville last March, along with other recent twisters, did so much damage to parts of the Metro area like East and North Nashville that Mayor Cooper’s office began to look into upgrading building codes.

New codes were recommended that structures be able to withstand higher winds than what was mandated before. Last night, the Metro Council approved those recommendations.

Mike Jameson, Legislative Director for Mayor Cooper, explained how this all came about.

“You saw what happened in March,” said Jameson. “And that just perpetuated and emphasized the concerns that many had expressed about the quality of our building standards.”

“So, after several stakeholder meetings and a lot of discussion and study, the mayor spearheaded legislation that I’m proud to say the Metro Council adopted last night, upgrading our codes to the most recent International Building Codes committee standards, the 2018 version. And among the components in that is a requirement that instead of just a 90 mph wind resistance or tornado resistance, if you will, it’s been elevated to 115 mph.”

“That came from a committee, the same committee, International Codes committee that looked specifically at Tennessee in 2018 and said ‘you really should build to a minimum resistance of 110 mph.’ Our state building codes only required 90 mph and we certainly could have stayed there. But we’ve seen too many events. For those of who were here in April of ’98, or March of this year, it’s too much to endure anymore.”

Besides increasing the wind resistance requirements, the new building codes also include upgrading the energy efficiency of homes to not only save homeowners money on their energy costs but reduce the carbon footprint of Nashville as well, and join other cities in the U.S. and around the world in helping mitigate climate change.

“The most recent climate science indicates that these severe weather events are not only migrating east, in other words, [but] the so-called “Tornado Alley” that we used to envision being over Kansas has also now moved further to the east and includes Tennessee,” explained Jameson.

Courtesy of the National Weather Association: “A Historical and Statistical Comparison of “Tornado Alley” to “Dixie Alley” by John P. Gagan, Alan Gerard, and John Gordon

“But that these severe weather events are the result of climate change and we need to start acting now.”

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