Dealing with flood damage inside of your home or business can be a nightmare. With water soaking your valuables and all of your belongings, it’s often difficult to know or even process where to begin. Quite likely many questions are running through your head pertaining to whether or not your insurance will cover the damage.
Your insurance policy may or may not cover all your damages from recent hurricanes. In general, most policies will cover damages caused by high winds, such as damaged roofing shingles, broken windows, or damage from toppled trees. The tricky part comes when your home or business is damaged by water intrusion.
Every year, hurricanes, severe storms, and natural disasters strike parts of the United States, Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Recently, the severity of storms and natural disasters have been increasing.
Last year was the United States’ most costly on record for weather-related disasters. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather-related damages in 2017 totaled a staggering $306 billion.
Forensic architects can serve multiple purposes throughout and after a construction job is complete. Most commonly, forensic architects are brought in to investigate the root cause of construction defects or building issues after a project is complete. However, forensic architects are also often hired onto a job during the design and construction phase to help identify any unforeseen issues that could be avoided. In these cases forensic architects are often hired as an unbiased 3rd party and act as an additional set of eyes based on the specialized experience they can bring to a job.
A high school in Alaska, a National Football League stadium, a Baltimore high-rise hotel and a Dallas airport terminal are among thousands of structures world-wide covered in combustible-core panels similar to those that burned in June's deadly London fire.
During Hurricane Wilma a tower crane at a high-rise condominium construction site in Hallendale, Florida suffered a collapse. The building, a 28 story concrete structure, is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Route A1A, and was under construction at the time of the collapse. The crane was situated on the west side of the building and was connected to the building at the tenth and twentieth floors. The crane was over 300 feet tall. The crane broke at the twentieth floor; the top of the crane fell to the ground while the lower portion was damaged but remained attached to the building. CCA was requested to review the circumstances of the collapse of the crane and provide opinions as to the cause.
Hurricane Irma bore down hard on single-family homes, severely damaging many. At the end of September residential insurance claims had been cited around a half-million. The story, however is quite different for commercial and industrial buildings where insurance claims had been cited around 25,000.
This is mainly due to the stricter building codes that were put in place following the wrath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. “Designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 175 mph, the Florida building code is the accepted benchmark for hurricane protection nationally.”
“Florida significantly strengthened its defenses after hits from past major hurricanes, and those improvements were instrumental in helping the state weather this potentially devastating storm,” Levy notes. “As a result, damage to Florida commercial real estate is relatively minor outside of the Keys.”
With the 2017 hurricane season coming to an end Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria affected large parts of the USA and Caribbean. Examples of roof uplift can be found in numerous structures. If a roof is not properly tied down the entire roof structure can be blown away as in this photograph from St. Thomas.
When hurricanes or high winds strike buildings the roofs can be sucked upward in the same manner as an airplane wing. In extreme cases the entire roof structure can get sucked off the building. Newer, hurricane-resistant structures incorporate hurricane ties - metal straps which attach the roof securely to the main part of the house below. Parts of the house are also tied together all of the way down to the foundation providing a path for the roof uplift forces all the way to the foundation. Without these ties, strong winds will make quick work of a roof.