Extreme Weather Resistance
Despite the UK and northern mainland Europe having experienced some severe weather conditions in recent years, they are nothing to those routinely encountered in other parts of the world where timber frame construction is widely used. Thus, there has been much research and development undertaken on the effects of hurricane-force winds and even earthquakes on this type of construction which, although not strictly relevant to Eco Homes Manufacturing Ltd’s own domestic market, should assure potential clients as to the structural integrity of the system.
Engineered for strength
The best type of structure to resist high winds or an earthquake is a frame house. Solid, concrete walls are strong – if you want to stop a bullet – but are inflexible and will crumble in the erratic shaking and twisting liable to occur during an earthquake or hurricane. Frame houses tend to bend and twist slightly and keep their structural integrity. The best earthquake research is happening in Japan, where full-sized houses are built on giant shaker tables to simulate the actions of an earthquake. Research has found that, without question, a frame house – either steel or timber – is the best structure type to resist earthquake damage.
Research on high winds
Unsurprisingly, the best hurricane research centres are in the United States, where hurricanes are relatively common. Researchers put full-sized houses in giant wind tunnels and measure performance. One area of intense research is on roof performance. In high winds, a vortex can form around roof edges creating upward pressure on the roof to lift it. Architectural features like dormers may encourage or discourage vortex formation. Ideal roof lines is one of the areas of intense research.
There are two types of damage that can occur during a hurricane. The roof may be lifted or the walls may collapse, and the building itself must withstand objects being thrown at them at high speeds. For the first type of damage, longer nails and steel nailer plates should be used to connect timber members. Special ties can be installed that tie one floor to the next and the roof to the walls. Doors should open outwards, not in. For the second type of damage, windows are in the biggest danger. Once windows break, the chances of losing the roof increase dramatically. In places like Florida, where hurricanes happen often, impact resistant glass, like that installed in automobiles, is being mandated. This can either be introduced during the manufacturing process, or it may be a film you apply to existing windows.