FORTIFIED Home™ FAQs

FORTIFIED

What are the FORTIFIED programs?

FORTIFIED is a superior building standards program that uses scientific research from the field and at the IBHS Research Center to make residential and commercial construction better withstand severe weather.

How long does a designation last?

A designation lasts for five calendar years. At the end of that period, a re-designation inspection will be required to maintain the home’s current designation level. If there have been no substantial changes, the designation will be re-issued for another five year period.

Why FORTIFIED?

A FORTIFIED designation recognizes and celebrates your commitment to protecting your family and property by reducing the risk of physical danger and by reducing the risk of financial loss when an event occurs.

FORTIFIED Home™

What is FORTIFIED Home™?

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety’s FORTIFIED Home™ program helps homeowners strengthen their home against the devastating power of severe weather. Whether building a new single-family home or updating the resilience of your existing home, using FORTIFIED Home superior building standards will make any home more resilient and durable, help a homeowner protect what is priceless during a disaster.

With its unique systems-based, holistic focus, FORTIFIED Home is affordable at any price point. With three levels of FORTIFIED Home designation available – Bronze, Silver and Gold – builders can work with homeowners to choose a desired level of protection that best suits their budgets and resilience goals.

The program also:

  • Provides peace of mind for homeowners, knowing their home is built to last.
  • Offers top to bottom protection of the treasures that make a house a home.
  • Safeguards investments made to make a home more sustainable and energy efficient.
  • Lowers ownership costs.
  • Improves the marketability of the home by ensuring prospective buyers know it was built to the highest standard with a transferable FORTIFIED Home designation.
  • Helps homeowners lower the overall cost of their community’s recovery after a disaster. Studies show every $1 spent on disaster mitigation saves $4 in community disaster recovery expenses.
  • Minimizes homeowners’ post-disaster environmental footprint.

How can I participate in FORTIFIED Home™?

It involves six simple steps:

Apply

Complete a free online application.

Evaluate

All FORTIFIED Evaluators are certified by IBHS after completing a comprehensive training program, passing an exam and meeting our rigorous professional requirements. FORTIFIED Evaluators are then qualified to help assess the condition of your home.

Choose your Certified FORTIFIED Evaluator and schedule a FORTIFIED evaluation to have your home’s current condition documented.

Report

You will receive a written Current Condition Report by mail or email; this will include an analysis of your home’s current condition as well as actions needed to achieve each of the FORTIFIED levels of designation for the applicable natural hazard.

Act

Work with a building professional to have the required retrofits completed and reduce your risk of loss due to natural hazard.

Get Designated

Have a designation inspection performed after completing your upgrades.

Celebrate!

In addition to improving your family’s safety and reducing the risk of financial loss, by achieving a FORTIFIED Home designation, you may be eligible other economic benefits including a reduction in your property insurance premiums. IBHS cannot provide any specific information about any effect that a FORTIFIED designation may have on your premiums. For information on whether there are credits or discounts available, you must consult your insurance provider.

FORTIFIED Home™ Re-Designation

How long does my FORTIFIED Home designation last?

A FORTIFIED designation is valid for five years. Your FORTIFIED Home designation can be renewed for another 5-year term by having a re-designation inspection conducted by a certified FORTIFIED Home Evaluator.

How do I know when my designation expires?

The expiration date is printed on your FORTIFIED Home Designation certificate. As a courtesy, IBHS will mail a notification to the designated address 90 days prior to the expiration date.

How do I maintain my designation or renew an expired designation?

The first step is to engage an Evaluator. The name of the Evaluator who performed the initial evaluation of the home will be provided on the expiration notice if they are currently active. While IBHS recommends hiring an Evaluator who may be familiar with your home, it may not always be possible and it is not a requirement. Any certified evaluator may perform a re-designation inspection. Please visit the searchable directory for evaluators working in your area.

How much does a re-designation inspection cost?

The fee for a site visit and processing the re-designation is set by each individual evaluator.

How long does the inspection for re-designation take?

The re-designation inspection will focus primarily on verifying the exterior condition of your home including the roof covering by taking some elevation photos. To assist the Evaluator, please be ready to answer these questions:

  1. Has any portion of the roof cover (shingles, metal, tile, etc.) on your home been repaired or replaced in the last 5 years?
    • Yes, the entire roof
    • Yes, partial roof
    • No
  2. Have any of the systems listed below been damaged, repaired or replaced in the last 5 years (check all that apply)
    • Attic Ventilation (roof mounted vents or soffits)
    • Window and door shutter systems
    • Windows and Doors
    • Garage Doors
  3. Have there been any additions to the home in the last 5 years?
  4. Has any space been enclosed and conditioned in the last 5 years?

Once IBHS has verified that your home continues to meet FORTIFIED Home requirements, a new designation certificate will be issued. If additional work is required before a designation can be issued, a detailed report identifying what corrective action is required will be provided to you by your Evaluator.

How long does the FORTIFIED re-designation last?

FORTIFIED re-designation is valid for another five years.

What are the advantages of renewing my FORTIFIED designation?

In addition to the peace of mind you’ll enjoy knowing that your home continues to be resilient during tropical storm events, you may be able to take advantage of insurance discounts if offered by your insurer.

What if I have other questions about my re-designation?

Please email Laurie Jaworski LJaworski@ibhs.org

FORTIFIED Evaluators

What does a FORTIFIED Home Evaluator do?

FORTIFIED Home Evaluators work with homeowners and builders throughout the construction of new homes and the retrofitting of existing homes to ensure–

  • A home has the appropriate resilience upgrades relevant the hazards where the home is located.
  • Critical construction details are verified at different building and retrofitting stages.
  • Key severe storm system upgrades in the home are designed and installed to deliver a stronger, safer more durable home.

Why should I become a FORTIFIED Home Evaluator?

The demand from builders for home resilience ratings is growing. Multiple states have mandatory incentives for FORTIFIED Homes (Alabama, Mississippi & North Carolina) and many property insurance companies recognize the benefits of FORTIFIED construction. This is a significant business opportunity for you. Homes earn FORTIFIED Home designation only when an independent third-party verifies they meet FORTIFIED Home  guidelines. FORTIFIED Home Evaluators are trained to evaluate construction techniques, collect key documentation, and perform inspections.

Who can become a FORTIFIED Home Evaluator?

Generally, FORTIFIED Home Evaluators are either licensed or registered design professionals, builders or home inspectors. For a full, detailed explanation of eligibility requirements, please review the FORTIFIED Evaluator Program Handbook.

FORTIFIED Marketing

Will FORTIFIED Home™ issue a news release about our alliance?

IBHS is happy to consider issuing joint news releases with FORTIFIED Home™ allies. Please contact IBHS Public Affairs Director Tiffany O’Shea if you are interested in doing a joint release. FORTIFIED Home™ allies are always free to distribute news releases on their own – we just ask that you share a draft with our communications team before you distribute it. Sample news releases with consistent messaging about FORTIFIED Home™are also available.

Will FORTIFIED Home™ help us get our news release out to the media?

FORTIFIED Home™ is not a wire service or distribution channel, but there are many news release distribution services available to help distribute your release to the media for a fee, including PR Newswire, PR Web, Business Wire, and eReleases, for example.

If we share our announcement through social media, can you help us amplify?

FORTIFIED Home™ is happy to promote your announcement via social media. We can share the news on IBHS’ FORTIFIED Facebook page, Disaster Safety Blog, and via our Twitter channel.

If an article is written about us, can you share that on social media?

If an article is written about you, which discusses FORTIFIED Home™, IBHS is happy to share it on IBHS’ FORTIFIED Facebook page, Disaster Safety Blog, and via our Twitter channel.

Can I use the FORTIFIED Home™ logo and other FORTIFIED Home™ materials?

Yes, you can use the FORTIFIED Home™ logo, but must follow the logo guidelines. You are welcome to use approved FORTIFIED Home™ materials and to co-brand them as long as you follow IBHS’ guidelines.

FORTIFIED Training

What is a Certified FORTIFIED Evaluator?

The FORTIFIED Home Evaluator Program provides training and certification to ensure the FORTIFIED designation is consistent and technically accurate throughout the country. FORTIFIED Home Evaluators are certified after completing a comprehensive training course, passing a final exam, and meeting rigorous professional requirements. FORTIFIED Evaluators are then qualified to help assess the condition of single-family, detached dwellings.

What is FORTIFIED-Wise™?

The FORTIFIED-WiseTM training course covers critical aspects of the FORTIFIED HomeTM program. Learn about the program’s new construction and retrofit standards, and how they are used by builders, contractors and homeowners.

FORTIFIED-Wise is ideal for anyone new to FORTIFIED Home or IBHS, or who wants to expand their knowledge of the program. Those interested may include, but is not limited to, product manufacturers, building officials, insurance professionals, students,
and real estate professionals.

Becoming a FORTIFIED-Wise Associate or Professional will provide you with a solid understanding of FORTIFIED Home building principles, construction practices and verification requirements. You’ll be a part of the national standard for resilient construction by taking the FORTIFIED-Wise course.

How do I register for a training course?

Contact Karen Yetter at Architectural Testing:

Other FORTIFIED Programs

What is FORTIFIED Commercial?

IBHS’ FORTIFIED COMMERCIAL standards address specific natural hazard risks, and provides recommendations for reducing damage particular to that risk. FORTIFIED COMMERCIAL employs an incremental approach toward making new and existing COMMERCIAL buildings more resistant to damage from severe weather. With three levels of FORTIFIED COMMERCIAL designation available – Bronze, Silver and Gold – builders can work with owners to choose a desired level of protection that best suits their budgets and resilience goals. 

What is FORTIFIED for Safer Living®?

FORTIFIED for Safer Living® is a multi-hazard program specifying construction, design and landscaping standards to increase a new home’s resilience and deliver superior performance during ALL natural hazards that threaten the area where the home is located.

What is FORTIFIED for Safer Business™?

FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ is a code-plus new construction program designed to help small and mid-sized businesses weather the natural hazards and man-made risks that permanently close the doors of numerous enterprises each year in the United States. This program provides a framework for implementing additional levels of resilience to hazards, through a verified methodology, in a format familiar to designers and contractors. The FORTIFIED program offers a package of code-plus construction improvements that greatly increase a new commercial building’s durability and resilience to natural hazards common in the area where it’s being built. These include floods, freezing weather, hail, high winds, hurricanes, water intrusion, wildfires, and earthquakes as well as interior fire and water damage. Specifically, FORTIFIED requirements strengthen a building’s envelope including the roof, walls, windows/glazed openings, doors and fire resistance.