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Austin homes built with the Bautex Wall System insulating concrete blocks (ICB) can protect a family and house from the ever-present threat of flooding and wildfires in Central Texas. Bautex walls will maintain their integrity before and after a severe flood or fire event. The Auto Haus in Austin, built with the Bautex Wall System, showcases how ICB can protect a family and their treasured belongings from these types of threats.
New home construction in Austin (located in Travis County, Texas) must take into account the occupants safety and the structure's integrity during natural and man-made hazards. Importantly, the City of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM), determined the top two threats to Austin are flooding and wildfires. The assessment was made based on potential damage in terms of lives lost, dollar losses, and other community factors. For the protection of Austin families and the homes they live in, home construction should include flood- and fire-resistant design.
Flooding is the most dangerous hazard in the Austin area and is a threat across the entire city year-round. Sadly, in October 2018, flooding devastated parts of Travis County. As of late October, the county identified around 400 structures impacted by the floods.
Flood-resistant construction is vital in Austin where ten percent of the land is located in the 100-year floodplain and in danger of flash flooding. The 100-year floodplain is areas where there is a one percent chance of flooding in a given year. Importantly, projects proposed in the 25-year and 100-year floodplains of Austin have the potential of putting people and property at risk of flooding. For these projects, both the City of Austin and National Flood Insurance Program regulations apply.
Changes to Austin’s Floodplain Map Add more Properties to 100-year Floodplain
According to a National Weather Service rainfall Atlas 14 study, in the future, Central Texas is likely to experience more extreme rainstorms than in the past. Biggers storms mean more rain, and possibly wider, more expansive flooding. In response, Austin re-drafted its floodplain maps to reflect the likelihood of more severe flooding. These changes added about 3,200 properties to the 100-year floodplain. Presently, the total number of Austin properties in the 100-year floodplain is 7,200.
Best Practice for Flood-Resistant Walls for Austin Homes
The Bautex Wall System, composite insulating concrete blocks (ICB), is a superb choice for a flood-resistant wall for an Austin home. The Bautex Wall System is moisture resistant, durable, and mold resistant.
The Bautex Wall System includes the Bautex Blocks and the Bautex AMB 20 Air and Moisture Barrier. The Bautex Blocks are a moisture resistant composite product of EPS foam beads and cement. Placing the Bautex AMB 20 Air and Moisture Barrier over the Bautex Blocks keeps water from entering the wall system. Also, Bautex Blocks are inorganic; therefore, not a food source for mold.
Importantly, the Bautex Block reinforced concrete construction does not degrade when wet and maintains its shape and durability during and after a flood. The Bautex Wall System has all the vital elements of a flood-resistant wall for an Austin home: the strength and durability to withstand water intrusion before and after a flood,, and resistance to water and mold. Bautex Wall System is also easy to clean after a flood.
Wildfires are a significant threat to Austin due to its high temperatures, severe drought, and low humidity conditions. Of concern, according to the Forest Service, climate change has increased the wildfire season by an average of 78 days annually since 1970.
Austin Temperatures on the Rise
In 2018, Austin had 51 days when temperatures hit 100 degrees or higher, making 2018 Austin’s third-warmest on record. Notably, in Austin, of the top 10 years with the most 100-degree days, eight were in the past 18 years. Furthermore, a study by the ATMOS Research & Consulting reports that by 2040, the summer average high temperatures will increase from 93.8 to 96.9 and the days with temperatures above 100 will increase from 11.7 to 31.4.
Increasing Drought Conditions in Austin
According to the States at Risk, Texas currently faces the worst threat from widespread summer drought among the lower 48 states. By 2050, Texas is projected to see an increase in drought severity of about 75 percent. In addition, a study by the ATMOS Research & Consulting reports the annual precipitation (inches) will decrease from 33.7 to 31.8.
Due to an increase in wildfires and longer wildfire seasons, building fire-resistant homes in Austin is a priority for today’s homeowners and builders. Several vital components for building a fireproof home include passive fire protection shields, and fireproof exterior, roofs, window, door, and walls. An ideal product for construction fire-resistant walls is the Bautex Wall System.
A crucial component of passive fire protection of a fire-resistant Austin home is the wall assemblies. An excellent choice for passive firewall protection is the Bautex Wall System. The Bautex™ Wall System is a lightweight composite block that meets and surpasses industry's standard for fire-resistance. The Blocks have an ASTM E119 fire rating of four hours, and an ASTM E84 reported values for flame speed of zero and smoke development of twenty. Because the Bautex Wall System meets the E84 and NFPA 286 testing requirements, they meet all of the requirements of the NFPA 101 life safety code. A best practice for building a fire-resistant Austin home includes a fire-resistant wall assembly like the Bautex Wall System.
The Auto Haus, in Austin, Texas, built with the Bautex Wall System, protects this Austin home from the threat of fire. The Bautex Wall System also creates a moisture- and wind-resistant home that is and energy-efficient home with temperature and humidity controls. The home also needed a high level of security. These features were vital to the Auto Haus homeowner who wanted to construct a house that integrated a 15-car garage to store their valuable auto collection adjacent to their living space.