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NAHB Research Center Studies Disaster Resistant Housing


 

 

Fach year natural disasters wreak havoc on families and communities across the U.S., disrupting businesses and destroying lives. Natural disasters teach us a great deal, but the cost of the lesson often comes at an incredibly dear price.

"Understanding the nature of damages sustained in any natural disaster is critical, so that solutions can be designed to truly address identified and well understood problems. The magnitude of an event and the probability of its occurrence are also critical factors in interpreting the outcome

"Natural disasters teach us a great deal, but the cost of the lesson often comes at an incredibly dear price."

of any natural disaster," said Jay Crandell of the NAHB Research Center.

Over the years, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has funded major research and testing involving the NAHB Research Center and universities around the country to examine a variety of performance issues related to natural disasters. The research findings are then used to guide the future use of existing and new construction technologies and building systems.

"One of the Research Centerís activities presently is zeroing in on how well homes using insulating concrete forms (ICFs) resist natural hazards such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and fires," said Bob Fuller of the Research Center. ICF construction is relatively new to the building codes and home building industry of the U.S. ICFs are hollow foam blocks or panels that stack and interlock to create exterior walls of a building. Reinforced concrete is then placed inside the foam blocks, creating strong, insulated concrete walls.

ICF construction is already noted for benefits such as energy efficiency and durability, but its structural performance when faced with natural hazards is largely undocumented, and thatís the focus of an ongoing study at the Research Center. The study is being funded by HUD, NAHB and the Portland Cement Association. The Research Center has solicited anecdotal or published information on ICF homes surviving natural disasters from builders, the public and public officials. The solicitation requests photographs, engineering analysis, news articles describing natural hazard events (i.e., wind speed, seismic intensity, flood estimates or measurements, date and proximity of occurrence), and also testimonial information from homeowners, home builders or investigators.

"Armed with this information, we should be able to better inform builders and home buyers of the potential value of ICF construction in comparison to conventional home construction," said Liza Bowles, President of the NAHB Research Center.

For more information, contact the NAHB Research Center by calling the ToolBase Hotline at (800) 898-2842, or you can correspond via email to bfuller@nahbrc.org.
 


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