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At the 14th annual Governor's Hurricane Conference in Tampa this week, Gov. Jeb Bush signed with a flourish the legislation that orders a new " Uniform Statewide Building Code" to go into effect July 1, 2001.
Even so, many requirements of the new code will remain in flux through next spring's legislative session. And the new code is hardly "uniform," since it features stricter rules for South Florida and laid-back rules for the Panhandle coast.
The controversial code, three years in the making, will mean safer homes throughout most of the state. But they'll also be more expensive, adding anywhere from 2.5 percent to 4 percent more to the construction cost.
Hurricane Andrew's damaging blow to South Florida in August 1992 first stimulated Dade County, then state government, to push for tougher building rules, particularly along Florida's long, vulnerable shores.
A state commission used the standard building code, Southern Building Code Congress 1997, as the …