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Utilize Bautex Blocks in Hurricane Resistant Building Design


Hurricane resistant building design protects a structure and its occupants from high winds, tornadoes, rain, and flooding. In hurricane prone regions, hurricane resistant design is essential; a category one hurricane can destroy mobile homes and damage roof, shingles, gutters, etc., but a category five hurricane (like Irma, with 157 mph and more winds) can destroy framed and mobile homes and cause total roof failure and wall collapse. The dangerous winds of a hurricane can also transform debris into flying missiles that can penetrate walls and threaten lives. However, flooding during a hurricane, which occurs due to storm surges, rain, and river overflow, is by far the biggest threat to life and property. For instance, in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina, 40 percent of the 1577 deaths were from drowning. Best practices for hurricane resistant design must protect from surging water levels, pounding rains, and damaging winds for the duration of storms. 

Best Practices for Flood Resistant Building Design

Best practices for hurricane resistant building design and con­struc­tion in flood hazard zone must protect against flooding asso­ci­at­ed with storm surge and tide. Hurricane resistant building design must also protect against excessive rain. The design of a structure built in a flood hazard zone must be according to the American Society of Civil Engineers 24 (ASCE 24). The ASCE 24 is the ref­er­enced standard in the Inter­na­tion­al Building Code® (IBC) and tells designers, archi­tects, and builders the minimum require­ments and expected per­for­mance for the design and con­struc­tion of buildings and struc­tures in flood hazard areas. Buildings designed according to ASCE 24 aim to resist flood loads and flood damage and com­ple­ment the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) minimum require­ments. Hurricane and flood resistant design in flood hazards zone should include elevated struc­tures, materials that can get wet, and design assem­blies that easily dry when exposed to moisture. Flood and water resistant design in flood hazard zones is essential in pro­tect­ing a structure and the occupants during a hurricane event.

Best Practice for Wind Resistance Design

Best practice for hurricane resistant building design and con­struc­tion must protect against strong wind and flying debris. A con­tin­u­ous load path is essential to holding a building together when high winds of a hurricane try to tear it apart. The con­tin­u­ous load path ensures that when a load, including lateral (hor­i­zon­tal) and uplift loads, attacks a building, the load will move from the roof, wall and other com­po­nents toward the foun­da­tion and into the ground. A strong con­tin­u­ous load path is crucial to holding the roof, walls, floors, and foun­da­tion together during a hurricane event.

Insulated Concrete Blocks Create Hurricane Resistant Buildings

Buildings con­struct­ed with insulated concrete blocks (ICB) maintain their integrity during intense winds of a hurricane of over 200 mph. Buildings con­struct­ed of insulated concrete blocks are much stronger than steel-framed buildings and wood under extreme wind events. In fact, a study published by the Portland Cement Asso­ci­a­tion (PCA), compared the struc­tur­al load resis­tance of con­ven­tion­al­ly framed walls to insu­lat­ing concrete form (ICF) walls. The study estab­lished that concrete walls have greater struc­tur­al capacity and stiffness to resist the in-plane shear forces of high wind than steel or wood framed walls. The strength of concrete walls lessons the lateral twists and damage to non-struc­tur­al elements of a building such as the elec­tri­cal and plumbing. Utilizing insulated concrete blocks for hurricane-resistant con­struc­tion can maintain a build­ing’s integrity during a strong wind event. 

Insulated concrete blocks (ICB) also resist damage debris flying over 100 mph. A study by Texas Tech Uni­ver­si­ty compared the impact resis­tance of wind driven debris between con­ven­tion­al­ly framed walls and ICF walls. The study concluded that ICF walls resist the impact of wind driven hazards while con­ven­tion­al­ly framed walls didn’t stop the pen­e­tra­tion of airborne debris. Insulated concrete walls are the best pro­tec­tion from windblown debris to a building and its occupants during a hurricane event.

The Bautex Wall System Stands up to a Hurricane’s Strength

The Bautex Wall System has the strength to resist the heavy winds and flying debris against even the strongest hur­ri­canes like Harvey and Irma. Both hur­ri­canes had peak wind speeds at landfall of over 130 miles per hour. The Bautex Blocks meet the Federal Emergency Man­age­ment Agency FEMA 320 and FEMA 361 guide­lines in storm zones with wind speeds up to 250 miles per hour. The Bautex Block has the strength and mass to resist the impact to wind driven debris at speeds greater than 100 mph. In addition to severe weather resis­tance, Bautex Blocks have the thermal per­for­mance required by the IRC and IBC and are fire-rated, noise-reducing, and easy to install. Bautex Walls are a good choice when designing for hurricane-resistant construction.

In today’s climate, where more frequent and severe weather events are occurring due to global warming, it is essential that con­struc­tion in flood hazard areas practice hurricane resistant design. Best practice for a hurricane resistant building design protects a building and its occupants from high winds, flying debris, flooding, and rain. For more infor­ma­tion on best practice for a hurricane resistant building design visit Bautex™ Wall System.

Storm surge is a rise of water generated by a storm, above the predicted tides. Storm tide is a water level rise due to both a storm surge and the astro­nom­i­cal tide. During a hurricane, storm surges and storm tides can cause extreme flooding in coastal areas. In fact, in 2008Hurricane Ike’s storm surge and heavy rains caused wide­spread damage to south­east­ern Texas, western Louisiana, and Arkansas; killing twenty people, with 34 others still missing. And, many of the lives lost during Hurricane Katrina occurred directly, or indi­rect­ly, as a result of storm surge.

Global warming refers to the modern day rise in global tem­per­a­ture near the earth’s surface. The increase in tem­per­a­ture is due to increas­ing con­cen­tra­tions of green­house gases (carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and flu­o­ri­nat­ed gases) in the atmos­phere. The expla­na­tion for global warming is straightforward.

The sun’s energy falls on the earth as ultra­vi­o­let, visible (light), and infrared (heat) elec­tro­mag­net­ic energy. The earth absorbs some of the sun’s energy as thermal energy. The earth reflects another part of the sun’s energy (infrared heat) back into the atmos­phere where it either passes through the atmos­phere or is reflected back to the earth’s surface. Nitrogen and oxygen, which are the dominant gases in the atmos­phere, allow infrared heat to pass through the atmos­phere, while the green­house gases absorb infrared heat and redirect it back to the earth. The more green­house gases there are, the more heat is redi­rect­ed back to earth; hence the increase in global tem­per­a­tures near the earth’s surface.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, before the Indus­tri­al Rev­o­lu­tion (about the year 1800), levels of carbon dioxide were about 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv); current levels are greater than 380 ppmv and increas­ing at a rate of 1.9 ppm per year since 2000. The burning of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees and wood products, and certain chemical reactions (e.g., man­u­fac­ture of cement) are respon­si­ble for the increase in green­house gases. Fur­ther­more, because plants absorb CO2 (thus remove it from the atmos­phere) as part of their bio­log­i­cal carbon cycle, defor­esta­tion and also lead to increased CO2 levels in the atmos­phere. Adverse impacts of global warming are extensive. A few of the impacts include rising sea levels due to increas­ing rates of glacial melting, more acidic oceans due to increas­ing carbon dioxide levels, and more frequent and severe weather events — like hurricanes.