Fortified home demonstration projects highlight advantages of implementing more resilient building
Coastal homes are vulnerable to a wide array of hazards and while many building codes have been adopted by local communities to improve their resilience, these are minimum standards. . As technology and engineering advances occur, there are opportunities to build “code plus,” which is above code standards and provides increased strength and resilience to ensure homeowners have a house to come home to after a storm.
Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium supported the outreach efforts of three local demonstration projects that allowed local homeowners, builders and community leaders to witness the application of “code plus” building. Three homes were used in the demonstration. The first home, The Colby House, included a home retrofit that raised awareness for building “code plus” and was sponsored by Safeco Insurance. The second demonstration home, The Green House, highlighted the advantages and cost-effectiveness of concrete construction and was sponsored by Traveler’s Insurance. The third demonstration home, The Lawrence House, was a successful demonstration of the need for enhanced roofing construction codes. This home included the replacement of a tornado damaged roof to “code plus” fortified standards.
A partnership among the project leaders, MASGC, the insurance industry, community leaders and Habitat for Humanity resulted in homeowners, community leaders, builders and others viewing “code plus” building practices in action and allowed them to learn more about the advantages and cost benefits of “code plus” building. In addition, Collegiate Build participated in the roofing project, which trained more than 30 college students how to build more resilient construction. Local media also covered the projects and shared with broad audiences. The future savings due to the mitigation activities at the three demonstration sites totals more than $210,000 but had a total $45,000 cost, which results in a 4.7:1 return on investment.
Three fortified home demonstration projects in Alabama increased awareness of the benefits of building to “code plus.” The projects’ economic return on investment is estimated at almost 5:1 based on avoided losses due to resilient building practices. (2014)