RICHBURG, S.C. — The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) released its 2020 FORTIFIED Home™ standard updated based on the latest building science shown to protect against damaging severe weather.

Established in 2010, FORTIFIED is a voluntary set of beyond-code design, building and retrofitting steps that enable home builders and roofing contractors to strengthen homes to prevent avoidable damage and financial loss caused by hurricanes, high winds, and hail.

With the threat of severe weather made clear in all regions of the country in 2020, homeowners increasingly want to prepare and are looking for solutions to minimize the damage these powerful storms inflict on their homes. FORTIFIED Home builds on what is required by most building codes with a series of enhancements proven to strengthen the most vulnerable parts of a home, starting with the roof, where the cascade of damage often begins. It includes three progressive levels of protection for new and existing homes tailored to the weather hazards faced in different geographies.

"FORTIFIED Home has shown in lab tests and real-world events to minimize damage caused by high winds, wind-driven rain and hail, and as our research progresses so will our standard," said Fred Malik, managing director of the FORTIFIED program. "These latest updates further our mission to strengthen homes against natural disasters, arming builders and roofing contractors with a system to meet the demands of their customers and making it possible for those homeowners to achieve the peace of mind that comes from proactively taking steps to reduce the impact of Mother Nature."

The 2020 FORTIFIED Home standard is effective for projects permitted on or after Nov. 1, 2021 and available for download on the FORTIFIED Home website along with a Summary of Changes to make identifying updates easier.

Periodic updates to the FORTIFIED Home standard are based on the latest testing at the IBHS Research Center and are also intended to simplify use. The 2020 standard emphasizes the importance of strong garage doors to prevent damage by expanding a requirement for adequate garage door design pressure ratings at the FORTIFIED Silver™ level across all regions. Technical updates have also been made to ensure FORTIFIED is consistent with changes in the model building code and ASCE 7-16. Additionally, in response to feedback from contractors committed to resilient construction, the program's compliance forms have been simplified.

"FORTIFIED puts research and engineering principles to work every day to protect families," said Julie Lowrey, FORTIFIED engineering director. "With a few simple steps to a stronger home, FORTIFIED ensures homeowners nationwide have the best protection science can offer."

Nearly 7,000 homes received a FORTIFIED designation in 2020, bringing the national total to more than 22,000. Learn more about the updated 2020 FORTIFIED Home standard at