Homes tested against hurricane-force winds

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety is working to keep houses safe from high winds that come with severe weather.

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. – Here in the Carolinas, everyone is well aware of the impact storms can have on our homes.

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety is working to find ways to keep our houses safe from the high winds that come with hurricanes and tornadoes.

In Richburg, the IBHS has replicated the devastating winds typical of an EF-2 level tornado. During an experiment, the demo house suffered significant damage, but not to the degree that IBHS engineers expected. It was supposed to be without a roof, instead, the garage door was ripped off, as well as part of the exterior sidewall.

While the damage was serious, it pales in comparison to a previous test. The variation between the two tests is similar to what could happen in a neighborhood.

“Houses that are very close together have different types of failures,” said IBHS CEO Julie Rochman. “Some are perfectly intact, and the house next door is completely gone.”

It’s a fine line based on the unpredictability of storms, and the construction of individual houses.

“That’s what we’re trying to prevent,” said IBHS Head of Research Ann Cope. “We don’t want to be on that hairy edge. We don’t want to just barely make it. We want to know.”

That’s where IBHS comes in. The research organization says if this house was built to its “Fortified Gold Standard,” the damage sustained in these tests wouldn’t have happened.

“We’re looking for these cost-effective, easy-to-do solutions that are going to guarantee,” Cope said. “You strap it down, the roof to the walls, and the walls to the foundation. And you know, you’re going to get a great performance out of that structure.”

The process is simple. A few extra pieces, basically, strap the entire house together.

“It just makes the path so that the house can withstand Mother Nature’s wind.”

While the house in this latest demo may have been lucky, it could be as simple as a different builder taking a little less care and a more dangerous outcome could have occurred. IBHS is here to take the guesswork out and make homes across the country a little safer. 

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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