This story was originally published in Builder.

A classic Yogi Berra-ism applies. It ain't over 'til it's over.

Recovery, clean-up, and repair efforts are only just getting underway after Hurricanes Florence and Michael savaged seven states of the Southeast from two different access points, but received wisdom of the ages advises anybody on any Atlantic coastal property to stay vigilant.

Late October and November hurricanes through the decades--including Oct. 29, 2012's climatic $70 billion nightmare Superstorm Sandy--rank right up there among history's deadliest and most damaging.

Speaking of Yogi, two "it's like deja vu-all-over-again" thoughts come to mind, especially as we begin to hear rumblings of anxiety among builders in the six or seven states most affected by Florence and Michael about what will happen among many skilled laborers once insurance repair and rebuild initiatives kick into gear.

"The first after-effects of storms like these are that we see shortages in materials as distributors get back up and running and start reallocating items like sheathing and roofing materials," the president of one regional home builder with operations in the Florida Panhandle region. "That usually sorts itself out. But, once the insurance jobs start picking up, that's when we really feel it, because those jobs pay almost double for a day's work what a crew member can make on our sites. That's where they'll go, and we'll have even more trouble than we already do keeping to our schedules."

An already challenging set of conditions on the labor capacity front intensifies--year after year after year--when storms blow through, wreak havoc, and then, a few months later, insurance jobs start to deplete the new construction labor force because that's where the money is. One way or another, new home builders wind up paying a price for it, either in higher day wages to trade crews to keep them on the sites, or in lost productivity.

The other issue--which should come as a positive to stakeholders in new construction and the remodeling and renovation business--is that each time an Atlantic hurricane tears a swath of catastrophic destruction through coastal counties, it's a proof of concept of the efficacy and value of building resilience into each home, either up to code or in excess of it.

Journal of Light Construction staffer Ted Cushman spotlights "Survivor Stories: Houses that stood against Hurricane Michael's fury," zeroing in on the virally celebrated New York Times story of Panhandle architect Charles A. Gaskin's design for the Mexico Beach concrete structure that owners, attorney Russell King and physician Lebron Lackey found largely unscathed in the wake of the storm. Cushman writes:

Hundreds of nearby structures were substantially damaged or totally destroyed, as aerial photos of the Mexico Beach shorefront make clear. But many of those homes were older structures that date back to long before Florida's codes were upgraded in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Many were not elevated, and thus were completely unready for Michael's storm surge; and few apparently had the upgraded wind-resistant framing details required by modern code for new homes in that location.

Cushman's piece also draws attention to the fact that in nearby Panama City, five Habitat for Humanity houses withstood the storm, in stark contrast to the general wreckage of properties around them.

“We have evidence that we can construct affordable housing that is resilient,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting property from disasters.

After Hurricane Andrew, which hit Florida in 1992, the state instituted a stricter building code in the early 2000s that required new buildings to use tougher nails and have more puncture-resistant walls, among other changes. But industry experts say that homeowners can go further in strengthening their homes without spending tens of thousands of dollars.

“Often the difference between a roof that stays on and one that flies off is the connection method,” Chapman-Henderson said. “A handful of additional nails can mean the difference.”

Cushman's JLC piece offers builders direct links to solving for that issue here and here.

The take-away here allows us to invoke yet another Yogi Berra-ism, "the future ain't what it used to be." Whatever you want to attribute to the root cause, killer storms are happening more and getting worse. The wind, rain, surge, and flooding that come with them are now--as they have been--an almost predictable annual cycle of destruction, only varying by landfall location, pathway, duration, and exit route.

Too many of us still think: "You can build homes to be affordable or build them to be resilient, but not both."

But a look at the real costs to people and builders--not only in renovation and repair of damages to buildings that fail to perform in the throes of climatic event, but the loss in new construction capacity that recurs with each cycle of insurance-financed rebuilding--shows the truth. You can't trade one off for the other.

Increasingly challenging building codes may seem as if they're the bane of builders' existence, as they often cost more in time, materials, and talent to comply. What they do however, is they save lives, and they save people's property, and, indirectly anyway, they save builders from having to endure periods of time where labor is even harder than ever to secure because tradespeople choose to put their skills to work on insurance jobs that pay them more.

So, if in your mind, it's either affordability or resilient, durable, safe, construction, heed the advice of one of business's canniest leaders of people ever, Yogi Berra. "When you come to a fork in the road take it."

This story was originally published in Builder.