House Failures in Hurricanes

Project: Storm-Ready Design, Episode 2, Part 2

Bob recaps construction of the stem-wall foundation and integral concrete slab, the vertical steel reinforcing, steel mesh, window bucks, headers, and spacers put in place for the cast-in-place concrete walls. Cameron Parker and the crew of Solid Wall Systems spray the aluminum wall forms with an organic oil spray to prevent adhesion from the concrete and set the forms for the pour. Bob joins Wayne Sallade, Charlotte County Emergency Manager, to review cleanup, demolition, and repair one year after Hurricane Charley. sallade explains that housing built in the 1960s through the 1980s, before the Florida Unified Building Code, had stick framing, gable roofs, and siding. "It didn't stand a chance," he says. Looking at surviving 1920s Florida architecture, it's clear that unified construction, concrete walls, protected windows, and hip roofsare the way to design wind-resistant homes. Back on site, bob watches the pour, learns how the walls and window openings will be vibrated to eliminate voids, and sees the bracing set to hold the walls square before leaving the site to let it cure overnight. Once the forms are removed, Jesse Gonzalez explains how a traditional three-coat Florida plaster job will complete the exterior once the structure has cured for two weeks.
Part 1: Setting Aluminum Forms for Concrete Walls and Foundation
Part 2: House Failures in Hurricanes
Bob is joined by Wayne Sallade, the emergency manager for Charlotte County, Florida. They stand before a residential property that has been condemned since the strike by Hurricane Charley. Sallade explains that buildings built in the 60s, 70s, or early 80s -- prior to the Florida Unified Building Code -- were destined to fail in those winds. Roof failure with gable roofs that catch wind like a sail, lap siding that was ripped from the sides of homes, and failure of stick-frame construction to hold together through wind and wind uplift caused these buildings to fail. With another hurricane season looming, it is critical to remove these damaged buildings before they become wind-borne missiles threatening other structures. Sallade explains that demolition takes time and skilled, certified contractors. With so much devastation in areas of Florida, there are not enough demolition contractors to complete all the work. He adds that a 50/50 rule specifies that any building damaged beyond 50 percent must be torn down and rebuilt. With zoning changes, it is often difficult for owners to rebuild in accordance with required materials and practices. Sallade then looks with Bob at older homes that survived unscathed, largely because they had hip roofs to deflect the wind, wind protection for doors and windows, and traditional Florida construction.
Part 3: Building a Reinforced, Solid-Pour Concrete Wall
Part 4: Removing the Concrete Wall Forms and Planning the Plaster Finish