Following hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Steve Klar, construction industry leader and Klar and Klar Architects principal, suggests that building standards need to be strengthened not only for homes built along the coast but also for those inland.
Klar observes that Hurricane Charley, which hit Florida in 2004, has proven that wind and water damage is no longer confined to the coastal areas. “We all heard stories of many evacuating inland, only to be struck directly by hurricane force winds. No one in Florida anywhere should feel safe anymore especially after what we saw from Irma,” he says
With hurricanes potentially being more devastating due to climate change, Klar claims that building stability can be strengthened at a minimal cost by adding details such as sealants, fasteners, waterproofing, upgraded hardware and additional structure.
Klar also recommends alternative energy sources like whole house generators and solar photovoltaic with battery back-up to homeowners. He explains that not only will these precautions prevent structural damage, they can also help reduce insurance premiums.
As for those who are considering to rebuilt their homes or business establishments in Florida, Klar encourages owners to ensure that proper precautions are implemented in the project’s design phase. Consider hurricane velocity wind pressures, he says, “You do not want to ever have any openings in the roof, walls, doors or windows…”
As of mid-September, reports indicate that the cost of both hurricanes Irma and Harvey total greater than $150 billion. Hurricane Irma flood damage recorded by the National Flood Insurance Program, managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to reach between $25 and $35 billion.