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Why don't they build hurricane proof houses in Texas

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QRM
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Why don't they build hurricane proof houses in Texas

Postby QRM » Sat, 20 Sep 2008 7:46 pm

When you see pictures of the hurricane devastation in the US all the houses look like they are made from matchsticks.

When we first move to Seattle from Hong Kong I was very surprised how light weight all the houses are, OK in Seattle there is an issue of cost, the place is covered in trees, it makes financial sense to use the local and abundant supply of timber.

But in hurricane alley in the US, why don't they take a few tips from Hong Kong we lived through a number of big typhoons, I recall a guard house flying past my bedroom window, but our house was made from reinforced concrete and suffered no damage at all apart from the odd broken window due to impact with debris.

If I lived in Galveston I would make sure my house was on stilts and made from concrete with steel shutters.

It may cost more to build but the rescue and rebuilding effort now runs into billions.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 20 Sep 2008 8:39 pm

If you could get construction labour for what is paid to foreign labourer in Asia to work with RC instead of having to pay bloated union wages, you would probably see more of it. Unfortunately, the union has pretty much put paid to anything quite so sensible.

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Postby Global Citizen » Sat, 20 Sep 2008 11:33 pm

I've often wondered the same of Florida as well what with the prevalence of wood frame houses and being in hurricane territory. It's not like Florida gets the cold seasons either so heating costs aren't an issue with dry wall versus concrete. Most of the houses in Jamaica, (where I reside most of the time) bar some of the wood shacks and/or shanties are built of concrete and with steel reinforcements as the Caribbean too is smack in hurricane territory and every year I cross my fingers that we don't get hit by the big one! I've lived through a couple of major hurricanes and definitely know what I'm talking about.

SMS, it sounds very much like the 'penny wise pound foolish' mentality. I'm pretty sure the premiums one pays for insuring one's property against natural disasters are reflected in the type of materials used in building a house. Plus how can one put a price on safety when there's such a real danger of losing everything?

edit: yikes my spelling has gone down the tube(s)!
Last edited by Global Citizen on Sun, 21 Sep 2008 5:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cavalier » Sat, 20 Sep 2008 11:42 pm

There isn't a lot of incentive to storm proof your house when the government will come in and pay the damages. Just look what happened in New Orleans.

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road.not.taken
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Postby road.not.taken » Sun, 21 Sep 2008 6:37 am

I think there is lots of hurricane resistant housing in Texas, Florida, etc. but when it withstands a big storm, it'll hardly show up on the evening news. Lots of these places we see flattened by natural disaster were built before the building codes were as strict, many are converted beach cottages. I would take a guess that the sheer number of storms in the last 3 or 4 years has weakened many houses, that's the case for our relatives in Florida at any rate.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 21 Sep 2008 12:29 pm

road.not.taken wrote:I think there is lots of hurricane resistant housing in Texas, Florida, etc. but when it withstands a big storm, it'll hardly show up on the evening news. Lots of these places we see flattened by natural disaster were built before the building codes were as strict, many are converted beach cottages. I would take a guess that the sheer number of storms in the last 3 or 4 years has weakened many houses, that's the case for our relatives in Florida at any rate.


Agreed. All new wood construction must meet minimum code including the manner in which the walls are fastened to the slab, extra bracing for outer walls, bracing for roofing timbers, etc. You actually see very little wind damage in newer neighborhoods, usually far more damage from trees blown down, loose debris hurled through windows, and the like.

As for beach front property, it isn't the wind, it is the storm surge that takes them out. Almost all are on stilts... with the size of the storm surge on Bolivar peninsula, even this wasn't enough.

I don't want to subsidize people who build on the coast by subsidizing their insurance costs. You want that bay or beach house? You pay the insurance.

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Postby micknlea » Sun, 21 Sep 2008 3:54 pm

I have seen a few articles recently about the upsurge in people building storm proof homes in these very places as the last 4-5 years and the various storms have really taken their toll.
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 21 Sep 2008 7:46 pm

Global Citizen wrote:I've lived through a couple of major hurricanes and definitely know what I'm talking about.



You and me both. That's part of the reason I went bankrupt in 1973 after 1972's Hurricane Agnes. Also had major damage and flooding during Hurricane Isabelle 4 years ago as well. I also lived through quite few in Morgan City on the Louisana gulf coast as well between 1977 and 1982 when I left to come over here.

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 3:12 pm

There's as many people living without insurance as well because they can't afford it, so to pay for better quality housing in the first place is a problem.

Housing has been quite expensive for the workmanship that come out at the end, like the standard UK style Rabbit Hutch. Built quick and cheap.


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