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Encyclopedia > Hurricane proof building

Tornadoes, cyclones, and other strong winds damage or destroy many buildings. However, with proper design and construction, the damage to buildings by these forces can be greatly reduced or eliminated. Over time, a variety of methods have been studied and tested (both formally and incidentally by actual storms) that can help a building survive strong winds and storm surge. Local building departments may mandate their use in high velocity hurricane zones, or areas where buildings are likely to have to withstand a hurricane in their lifetime. For other uses of Tornado, see Tornado (disambiguation). ... This article is about the meteorological phenomenon. ...


Storm surge considerations

A common problem for buildings during hurricanes is storm surge. Flooding occurs frequently in coastal areas and waves contain a tremendous amount of energy which can literally batter a building to pieces. Beach front buildings should be able to withstand the ocean rising 20 or more feet with large waves on top of that. They should preferably be built on high ground where possible in order to avoid waves knocking the building down.

If waves can reach the building site, the building should be elevated on steel, concrete, or wooden pilings and/or anchored to solid rock. Whether it is intended or not, the walls on the first floor are often built with sheetrock which can completely deteriorate when wet and/or exposed to lateral forces, leaving structural members in place, and allowing water (or high winds) to pass through. This "gutting" occurs frequently in storm surge areas. If done by design, "sacrificing" the walls of the first floor is not an ideal solution, although it can save the rest of the building from destruction. Of course, building contents left on that level will be lost and considerable damage to the building could still result in costly repairs - see mold, rot, and termite problems below under building materials. Drywall (also called gypsum board, GWB, plasterboard, SHEETROCK® and Gyproc®) is a building material consisting of gypsum formed into a flat sheet and sandwiched between two pieces of heavy paper. ...

Wind loading considerations

The foundation

Wind acting on the roof surfaces of a building can cause negative pressures that tend to create a lifting force. This is one of the most common ways a building can be destroyed during a storm. Gravity alone may not be sufficient to prevent the roof from lifting, or "peeling" off the rest of the building. Once this occurs, the building is weakened considerably and the rest of the building will likely fail as well. To minimize this, the upper structure should be securely anchored through the walls to the foundation. Image File history File linksMetadata 100_0587. ... Image File history File linksMetadata 100_0587. ... A monolithic dome is a structure built from polyurethane foam, rebar and concrete. ... This article is about the Atlantic hurricane of 2005. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Several methods can be used to securely anchor the roof. Traditionally, roof trusses were simply "toenailed" into the top of the walls. These nails provide little to no actual structural advantage; they're mainly used to hold the trusses in place while the rest of the roof is being built. Gravity and friction then ensure the roof stays put. Various products have been developed that can actually anchor the roof to the walls, which should then be anchored to a solid foundation. Metal straps which nail into the wall and wrap over the trusses are one method. Other methods, including temporary straps made of a variety of materials, have also been successfully used and have an advantage in that a building which is not constructed to withstand wind loading can be quickly and temporarily strapped to the ground, even during the approach of a storm.

Earth Sheltering

Earth Sheltered Construction is generally more resistant to strong winds and tornadoes than standard construction. It is for this reason that cellars, and other Earth Sheltered components of other buildings, can provide safe refuge during tornadoes. Earth covered farm houses in Keldur, Iceland. ...

Dome homes

The physical geometry of a building affects its aerodynamic properties and how well it can withstand a storm. Geodesic dome roofs or buildings made from wood, steel, or concrete have low drag coefficients and can withstand higher wind forces than a square building of the same square footage.

Building components

Garages, windows, doors, and other openings

These are generally the weak points susceptible to breakdown by wind pressure and blowing debris. Once failure occurs, wind pressure builds up inside the building and in seconds, may lift the roof off a building. Hurricane shutters can also provide effective protection. Hurricane shutters are used to protect houses and other structures from damage caused by storms. ...


Exterior doors should open outward in hurricane prone areas. An inward opening door can be blown into the house by wind causing potential structural failure. Various companies offer new doors that adhere to the local building codes. Some companies offer retro-fit devices that can be professionally installed. These kits are often just as expensive as a new door. A good source for products include the Miami-Dade building code website[1]. It shows how the products are to be installed to withstand the most punishing of winds. Some of the companies are local and many products were in use prior to Hurricane Andrew, "The Big One". Structural failure refers to loss of the load-carrying capacity of a component or member within a structure or of the structure itself. ... Lowest pressure 922 mbar (hPa; 27. ...


It is usually a requirement to install 150 mile per hour tested windows in hurricane prone areas. These windows should have plastic panes, shatter-proof glass or glass with protective membranes (Impact Glass). The panes have to be more firmly attached than normal window panes (possibly even using screws or bolts through the edges of larger panes). See hurricane shutters. Hurricane shutters are used to protect houses and other structures from damage caused by storms. ...

Windows protected by steel or heavy aluminum shutters may be best in some hurricane prone areas.

Building materials

The choice of building materials can affect the ability of a building to withstand high winds. Although it is not always possible to use different materials, if the area is extremely susceptible to high winds, it is good practice to use the most resistant materials available.


Wood is the most common building material as it is readily available, relatively inexpensive, and has a degree of flexibility which can be beneficial in certain high stress situations. However, termite and dry rot are frequent problems in timber buildings located in areas susceptible to hurricanes, particularly in warm, humid climates. Weakened buildings cannot withstand wind loads as well as intact buildings can. To combat this, certain building codes require the use of pressure-treated wood for all structural elements of the building, which is designed to prevent rot and deterioration. Families Mastotermitidae Kalotermitidae Termopsidae Hodotermitidae Rhinotermitidae Serritermitidae Termitidae Termites, sometimes known as white ants, are a group of social insects usually classified at the taxonomic rank of order Isoptera. ... Dry rot is a disease of trees, often caused by the fungal species Merulis lacrymans, Poria incrassata, and/or Serpula lacrymans. ...

Also, wood and paper backed sheetrock provide food for black mold which can grow if the inside of the building gets wet during a storm. The mold can then be costly to remove and must be considered as a factor when deciding which building materials to use. Drywall (also called gypsum board, GWB, plasterboard, SHEETROCK® and Gyproc®) is a building material consisting of gypsum formed into a flat sheet and sandwiched between two pieces of heavy paper. ... Binomial name Aspergillus niger P.E.L. van Tieghem Aspergillus niger is a fungus and one of the most common species of the genus Aspergillus. ...

A building constructed with wood can effectively be built to withstand fairly high wind loads. However, flying debris - furniture, trees, small pets, parts of other buildings which are common in such a storm - can still damage or destroy a well-designed wood building even if the wind isn't sufficient to do so itself.


Reinforced concrete is a strong, dense material that, if used in a building that is designed properly, can withstand the destructive power of very high winds, pounding waves, and even high-speed debris. Concrete used in home construction must be reinfoced with steel (commonly known as "rebar"). While the rebar can rust in wet or humid environments, there are various effective means to retard or prevent rebar corrosion due to moisture.

Examples of Cyclonic Construction Methods

Note! This gallery is of residential construction in Darwin Northern Australia and is provided for general, non specific information only. Port Darwin redirects here. ...

See also

Tropical cyclones Portal

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1000x662, 320 KB) http://eol. ... Hurricane preparedness includes actions taken before a tropical cyclone strikes to mitigate the damage and personal danger such storms can cause. ... The HurriQuake environment nail is a newly invented nail designed by Ed Sutt for Stanley-Bostitch, a division of Stanley Works. ... Taipei 101, the worlds tallest building as of 2004. ... I NEED TO FUCK SOMEONE! I AM TIRED OF PORN! SOMEONE HELP ME! ... Earth covered farm houses in Keldur, Iceland. ... Spaceship Earth in Epcot Center at Walt Disney World is perhaps one of the most famous examples of a large scale geodesic sphere. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Building - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (166 words)
Building is either the act of creating an object assembled from more than one element, or the object itself; see also construction.
A building is usually a human-created object composed of more than a single element, permanently fixed to the ground, that mediates one or more aspects of the environment.
Buildings may be as simple as a lone roof providing shelter from the rain for a single occupant, or as complex as a hospital regulating temperature, air flow, light, gas content, bacteria movement, particle flow, pressure, and people movement and activities.
Hurricane proof building - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (563 words)
Geodesic dome roofs or goedesic dome buildings made from wood or steel and free-form concrete dome buildings which would avoid, or slip under higher wind forces than a square building of the same square footage.
The highest standard is to have a 2 inch wide metal strap that wraps around the roof rafters and connects to the building or foundation.
Gable roofs are not usually recommended in hurricane areas as these have a larger drag coeficient than a hip roof or dome roof.
  More results at FactBites »



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