"Increasingly destructive wildfires have consumed tens of thousands of homes over the past decade, but few states have codes that require houses be built with fire-resistant materials. Now, a new study shows that enhancing a new home's wildfire resistance adds minimal cost to an overall construction project.
Looking at home construction in California, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) finds that installing additional wildfire safety measures, beyond the state's current wildfire building codes, adds from 2%-13% to the cost of construction. Under state law, homes in risky areas already must be built with fire-resistant roofing, siding and decking.
While there's no guarantee a home will survive a wildfire, fire-resistant materials are more likely to withstand the onslaught of embers that are often blown far ahead of a wildfire. One study found that homes that met wildfire codes were 40% less likely to be destroyed, compared to older homes.
Still, despite recommendations from fire officials, efforts to pass wildfire building codes have been stymied in many other Western states over cost concerns from the building and real estate industries."