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.
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.
Excessive growth of mold can destroy building materials and also cause health problems.
In areas of the U.S. prone to being hit by hurricanes, like Florida, it is critical that buildings are constructed to stand up to the strength of storms.
Weather-resistant Metal Paneling is one application that is currently being used to withstand the potential damage caused by hurricanes.
According to a recent article in The Construction Specifier, Orlando Veteran Affairs Medical Center, located in a region with a 40% risk of encountering a hurricane, has installed more than 245,000 sf of weather-resistant metal walls, tested to withstand winds from a Category 3 hurricane
As stated in the article, the building features thermal efficiency, moisture control, and weather resistance suitable for the hurricane risk in Orlando, the panels are pressure-equalized along horizontal joints. Insulated metal vertical (IMV) joints are also employed, improving visual appeal by creating the illusion of an uninterrupted façade and minimizing both streaking and staining. All panels used are 22-gage and feature foamed-in-place cores to minimize gaps in insulation.
Flooding has dominated much of the news in recent years and this hurricane season it seems to be even more prevalent. The impact of this flooding is greater due to growing infrastructure and the rapid rate that new construction is going up.
Concrete is the modern world’s most commonly used building material however century-old concrete structures are outlasting modern concrete structures erected in the last 50-years. Why? One factor is the way in which the buildings are reinforced. According to a recent article in The Construction Specifier, instead of using solid stone, most U.S. infrastructure is constructed of reinforcing steel embedded within poured concrete. As the priorities of construction methods shift to increase productivity and streamline scheduling, long-term durability often takes a backseat.
The following article provides case studies about different reinforcement methods being employed to protect against major flooding. Read more.