JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Len Williams works in construction as a roofer and 20 years ago, he responded to the devastation in South Florida following Hurricane Andrew after it came ashore as a category 5, killing 26 people, leaving 250,000 people homeless and billions of dollars in damage.
Working in Neptune Beach on a roof, Williams recalls the six months he spent repairing homes and the changes in building codes across the state since then.
"We worked a lot in Homestead. It took all the roofs, every one of them, and all the windows," said Williams.
The destruction left by Hurricane Andrew showed the need to implement a statewide building code system. The changes include inspections and enforcement of codes along with training and licensing of inspectors and contractors.
Ralph DeCicco, who heads up the Northeast Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Association, said Andrew changed the building trades.
"Andrew changed everything the fasteners, the dry in, the nailing requirements and use of adhesive in certain key areas. It really ushered in big change," said DeCicco, who has been in the roofing business for three decades.
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety recognized Florida for its changesin building codes, ranking the Sunshine State along with Virginia for being leaders in spearheading more stringent building requirements.