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GULF SHORES, Ala. — The City Council is pondering a switch to the most recent set of International Building Codes, which would mandate, among other things, that single-family homes be outfitted with indoor sprinkler systems and in-ground pools be enclosed in fences.

Having opted not to adopt the 2006 International Building Code, Gulf Shores Building Official Brandan Franklin has proposed that the resort city become the first in the area to operate under the 2009 rules.

"The No. 1 reason for being on the latest, greatest codes is I think we have a better chance of getting insurance coverage back into play," Franklin told council members during a work session last week.

The council is slated to consider adopting the new codes at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 14.

By: Ryan Dezember

After being ravaged by several hurricanes in the last decade several coastal resort cities on the Gulf of Mexico saw their insurance rates skyrocket if companies decided to retain the policies at all. Residents and city council members have been struggling to find some way to bring back insurance competition to the area to keep area premiums low for residents and consumers alike. This appears to be a possibility. However, it could be yet another restriction on how new builders and homeowners construct and maintain their homes. We all want lower insurance premiums, but what is the eventual cost to the current and future homebuilder? Should these individuals be forced to adopt their construction preference? We could find a telling sign by the decision of the residents of Gulf Shores. One thing is for certain, changes in insurance on the Gulf Coast must occur.

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