National Building Safety Month: IBHS Research Center Teaching Consumers Value of Stronger, Safer Construction

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Determining ways to reduce the amount of damage disasters inflict on homes and businesses is the purpose behind the IBHS Research Center

High-wind testing at the IBHS Research Center demonstrated how IBHS' FORTIFIED program can make buildings much more resistant to extreme events

Since its opening in October 2012, testing at the facility has provided visual, undisputable proof of the effectiveness of better building practices.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is providing consumers with guidance on disaster preparedness during Disaster Safety and Mitigation Week (May 14-20), which is part of National Building Safety Month.

“The U.S. experienced a high number of devastating natural catastrophes in the first quarter of 2012,” said Julie Rochman, president & CEO of IBHS. “Wildfires to tornadoes have inflicted an incredible amount of damage on communities across the country. These catastrophes have taught us that we must be better and constantly prepared.”

Determining ways to reduce the amount of damage disasters inflict on homes and businesses is the purpose behind the IBHS Research Center, a unique, state-of-the-art, multi-risk applied research facility in South Carolina.

“Since its opening in October 2012, testing at the facility has provided visual, undisputable proof of the effectiveness of better building practices,” Rochman said. “IBHS’ scientific research already has influenced residential and commercial structural design and construction, and will continue to do so for decades to come.”

IBHS researchers have conducted three, full-scale tests at the facility, all of which have yielded compelling evidence in support of stronger construction practices:

  •     High-wind testing demonstrated how buildings can be made much more resistant to extreme events by tying the roof to the walls and the walls to the foundation, creating what researchers call a continuous load path.
  •     Windborne ember storm testing revealed how the use of aluminum gutters versus vinyl, and cement fiberboard versus vinyl siding can help reduce the risk of wildfire-related damage.
  •     Wind-driven water testing demonstrated that for about $500 you can reduce the chances of water damage in a home by sealing the roof deck so water is prevented from entering the home if the roof covering is blown off during a high-wind event.

IBHS is a leading national expert on preparing for, and repairing and rebuilding structures after, a catastrophe to make them more disaster-resistant. To arrange an interview with IBHS, contact Joseph King at 813-675-1045/813-442-2845, jking(at)ibhs(dot)org or via direct message on Twitter @jsalking.

Visit http://www.DisasterSafety.org for more information about how to make your buildings more resistant to a variety of disasters, big and small. Follow IBHS on Twitter at @DisasterSafety and on Facebook.

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About the IBHS
IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks on residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices.

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