The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has expanded FORTIFIED, its voluntary, beyond-code, resilient construction program, to include a standard and designation specifically for multifamily communities.

The new FORTIFIED Multifamily standard lays the path for multifamily developers, owners, and property managers to offer residents homes built or retrofitted to perform better in severe weather, including powerful high winds and heavy rain from thunderstorms, derechos, hurricanes, and even tornadoes.

“We can’t reach critical mass in our quest for a more resilient nation without addressing the needs of the 164 million Americans who live in multifamily housing,” says Roy Wright, president and CEO of IBHS. “Everyone, regardless of where they live or their income, deserves a strong home designed and built to withstand the weather it will face. We’ve sharpened our focus to help ensure more Americans can benefit from IBHS research and better prepare our homes to reduce the damage and destruction caused each year by severe weather.”

Like FORTIFIED Home and FORTIFIED Commercial, the newly launched FORTIFIED Multifamily program requires that builders and contractors adhere to strict construction standards developed by IBHS to minimize damage from severe weather. Additionally, key resiliency features must be verified and documented by an independent, third-party evaluator.

FORTIFIED Multifamily will offer three designation levels so developers, owners, and property managers can choose the level of protection most appropriate for new construction, renovation, or re-roofing, and that also best meets budget considerations and resiliency goals. Each level will provide beyond-code protection proven to withstand winds of at least 130 mph, reports the organization.

“Our organization has dedicated decades to conducting top-tier science to identify ways to minimize the damage severe weather can cause,” adds Fred Malik, IBHS managing director for FORTIFIED Programs. “By expanding the FORTIFIED program to include multifamily properties and deepening our commitment to supporting nonprofits, we are helping to ensure more families have a place to return after the next storm, no matter where they live.”