Building Safer Buildings
According to insurance industry data, wind damage to commercial property from recent severe weather events has reached historical heights. The Institute of Business & Home Safety is trying to find ways to make buildings more structurally sound.
Dr. Tim Reinhold with IBHS says, “One of the things that studies have shown time after time, is that when you have a major event go through and small businesses are displaced or down for some period of time, about 25% of them never come back.”
IBHS conducted the first-ever controlled high speed wind test earlier this month to test wind-resistant construction techniques and see how they compared to more common practices across the country.
They constructed two 30-foot-by-20 foot one-story masonry buildings, comparable to strip mall shopping centers. They used identical materials, but different installation and assembly techniques to see which would withstand the strong wind better.
The stronger building was reinforced by addition of wind-resistant construction features, including properly reinforced masonry walls, correctly installed flashing and wind-resistant roof cover, well-anchored roof-top equipment, use of roll-up doors with wind locks.
Believe it or not, the components used to make the resilient commercial building stronger and safer, cost less than 5-percent of the total cost of the entire structure and only slightly lengthened total construction time.
With minimal cost and slightly more time, a small business can considerably improve the structural integrity of its buildings, and likely lessen the time of recovery significantly after a natural disaster strikes.