Fortification could be the must under looked problem facing the global home owner as more and more parts of the word are experiencing EXTREME WEATHER and CONDITIONS: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Heat Waves, Droughts, Hail, Wild Fires, Floods, Insects, and Fungi.
For decades the majority of developers and builders have been delivering to the general public homes that only meet the local building code with minimal concern for the actual performance of the home over the life
cycle of the home. As reports of increasing extreme weather patterns continue to develop, new home builders and buyers need to take into consideration not where we are today but where we will be in 10 – 20 years. Just over the past twenty 25 years since hurricane Andrew hit south Miami, the Miami – Dade building code went from almost no-existent to the strictest code in the world. Whole new categories of building materials has been developed as a result of this stringent code that will withstand a 180 mph hurricane. These same codes are expanding to more and more of Florida, up the Gulf coast, up the East coast and even into the Midwest prone to extreme tornadoes.
The problem with today’s housing market is the lack of knowledge and concern when it comes to the buyer shopping for a fortified home that EXCEEDS the local building code. Buyers know what to ask for when they are shopping for a car, or granite counter tops and stainless appliances, but NOT so when shopping for a home that is strengthened to withstand the forces of a tornado or hurricane. One of the problems is the fact that the local building code is just a MINIMUM requirement and is not encompassing of all conditions that will be faced today or in the future by a home and its owners. Codes are there to meet the needs of TODAY. Example: Termites cause more damage to homes than hurricanes, and what ever the code is, homes are still being destroyed by termites. Consumers across the nation need to focus more attention on the actual structure (envelope) of the home from the foundation to the peak of the roof. A home is not a wall but a complete system that attaches the foundation to the highest point of the structure all into one integrated component. Home buyers need to ask their builder or developer just how their structure is rated against the list of above conditions. Ask the builder what codes are met or exceeded by their home. A Miami Dade NOA is the highest rating you can find. Any structure with this certification (the manufacture of the system has to go through extensive testing in order to receive this certification) is one you can count on when the weather turns bad.