Disaster-resistant home going up in Madison County

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Imagine a home that can withstand a tornado or a housefire, resistant to termites and mold. It’s in the works in madison county.

Its a so-called “Defender Home” going up on Church Street in Gurley.
The model home is going to be a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom home when workers are finished.

It’s a typical looking construction site, with a very atypical design.

Tracy McMahan, the builder, stood in front of one of its walls and said, “Fire resistant. I could hold a blow-torch to this wall and all it’s gonna do is smoke it up. it will not burn.”

McMahan is a builder based in Athens.

His company is building the home under the guidance of Riji Dixon of Gulf Shores, the president of Defender Technologies.

“Wood burns very, very fast,” said Dixon. “You can’t burn this. Termites’ food is wood, termites don’t eat this. Mold loves wood. Mold doesn’t like this. The winds are no match for this construction.”

He says this one is only the fourth to be built in the United States.

The other three homes are located in Gulf Shores.

Dixon said he wanted to bring this technology into North Alabama for one top reason: “We wanted to be over here because this is a tornado alley.”

He said the design is new to the U.S., although builders in 15 different countries used it to construct about 50,000 homes since the year 2000.

As for what makes the design so disaster-resistant, Dixon put it this way: “Just those walls right there weigh 50,000 pounds. If that was wood, probably about 4,000 pounds.”

McMahan explained a little more from inside the four walls. “These are 10 foot high panels, about four feet four inches of concrete. We’ve got three inches of insulated foam on the exterior. it’s, of course, poured solid.. got rebar.. horizontally and vertically.”

He insisted the design saves money on heating and cooling and insurance, knocking off about two-thirds of a typical bill for a house of similar size.

Workers plan to put together a couple of other “defender homes” on the property in Gurley, all the while inviting anyone who’s interested to learn about what they say is an affordable cost for providing priceless protection.

Dixon wants people to come out to see the construction process and ask questions.

He’s also recruiting local builders to learn to construct defender homes by taking a
free training class and getting certified.

The house is located at 182 Church Street in Gurley, if you’d like to check it out.

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