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.