Industry News




08/08/2011

Increase in Storm Damage Means More Stringent Building Standards

 
Building-Damage-Joplin

For reasons that are not clear, 2011 has been one of the most destructive tornado years in history.

Researchers from a team funded by the National Science Foundation have examined some of last spring’s massive tornado damage and conclude in a new report that more intensive engineering design and more rigorous, localized construction and inspection standards are needed to reduce property damage and loss of life.

As one of the nation’s most destructive tornado seasons in history begins to wane, and hurricane season approaches its peak, experts are working to determine if old, tried-and-true approaches to residential and small building construction are still adequate, or if it’s time to revisit these issues.

“Modern building codes are not what we would call inadequate, but they are kind of a bare minimum,” says Rakesh Gupta, a professor of wood engineering and mechanics at Oregon State University, and one of the members of the NSF team that traveled to such sites as Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Joplin, Mo. – where a massive EF5 tornado in May killed more than 150 people and caused damage approaching $3 billion.

“Beyond that, in the actual construction process, buildings are often not built precisely to codes, due to inadequate construction work or code enforcement,” Gupta says. “We can do better. The damage didn’t have to be as bad as it was. We can design and build structures more rigorously that could withstand wind forces up to 140-150 miles per hour, which would help them better resist both tornadoes and hurricanes.”

In their research, the scientists and engineers found that even in the most catastrophic tornadoes, the path exposed to the most extreme winds is very narrow. In the Joplin example, buildings less than one-half mile away probably faced winds in the 130 mph range, which often destroyed them because they lacked appropriate fasteners, tie-downs, connectors, or adequate number of sheathing nails.

“Another thing we need to consider more in our building practices is the local risks and situation,” says Arijit Sinha, an OSU professor in the Department of Wood Science and Engineering.

“Just as cities like San Francisco adapt their building codes to consider earthquake risks, many other towns and cities across the nation could be creating local codes to reflect their specific risks from hurricanes, tornadoes, high winds or other concerns,” Sinha says. “A national building code may be convenient, but it isn’t always the best for every single town in the country.”

Among the findings of the new report:

  • It’s not possible to economically design wood-frame structures that could resist damage from the highest winds in extreme tornado events, such as EF4 or EF5, but irreparable damage from lesser winds could and should be reduced.
  • Tornadoes and hurricanes apply different types of forces to buildings, and what will adequately protect from one type of storm event isn’t identical to the other. Implementing hurricane-region construction practices in a tornado-prone region is a good start, but not an end solution.
  • Vertical uplift, one of the special risks from tornadoes, is often not planned for in traditional construction approaches.
  • Interior closets and bathrooms can provide some protection at lower wind speeds, but more consideration should be given to construction of “safe rooms” that can save lives in major events.

Even where cities and towns don’t have more stringent building codes, Sinha says, individuals can and probably should have their blueprints or structures reviewed by licensed engineers to plan adequately for damage from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or other extreme forces.


Photo Credit: Dustie / Shutterstock.com

Hurricane Season Problem Prevention                                                

Disaster-Proof Your Biggest Assets

Shelter in Place: When Staying Put is Your Best Option


 


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality. 

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality. 

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


 
comments powered by Disqus
07/27/2015

Survey shows pests can decrease perceived value of hospitality facilities.

07/24/2015

Nearly 25% of workers don’t know proper safety procedures for emergency situations.

07/23/2015

Better Buildings Challenge to help FMs replace troffer fixtures for efficiency improvements.

07/22/2015

Environmentally friendly buildings can improve occupant wellbeing. 

07/21/2015

Performance ratings now available for thermal, weather, and air barriers.

07/20/2015

Survey finds over half of employees are frequently unhappy with office temperature.

07/17/2015

State stays on track to achieve greenhouse gas reduction target.

07/16/2015

Lighting, acoustics rated as top concerns.

07/15/2015

Study shows health risks to long periods of standing.

07/14/2015

Social media giant selects wind energy.

07/13/2015

Global capacity increases to 1,712 GW.

07/10/2015

Mass killings may inspire similar acts of violence.

07/09/2015

Regulation will reduce waste, improve use of sustainable products.

07/08/2015

Alternative certification path to improve sustainability in California buildings.

07/07/2015

Development could improve solar capacity, storage.

07/06/2015

Regulation will reduce GHG emissions, incentivize the use of greener refrigerants.

07/02/2015

Sustainable parking leaders recognized.

07/01/2015

Design ‘scatters’ sound without affecting aerodynamics.

06/30/2015

Survey shows lack of concrete commitment to efficiency improvements.

06/29/2015

Guideline will protect building water systems.

Page 1 of 55
FirstPrevious[1]2345678910NextLast

Sponsored Links