Hurricane Proof Homes 

 

In 1992, Category-5 Hurricane Andrew hit Miami Florida prompting the major revision of the Florida building code in attempt to mitigate similar damage in the future. That new code, first released in 1994, is updated every 3 years to address new findings and developments. Product approvals for hurricane resistance include testing for both windload and impact from windborne debris.  However, a great deal of hurricane damage results from flooding for which most hurricane product testing is incomplete, as validated in subsequent hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence and Michael.  Current building codes now address storm surge mostly by requiring minimum elevation above flood plane for the primary structure.  Inland flooding from hurricane driven torrential rain is a more difficult code challenge.

New products that provide superior hurricane protection usually include other benefits such as increased occupant safety, higher building longevity, improved property value, reduced maintenance, and lower insurance premiums. The cost is much higher, but so is it's importance and return on investment. The good news is that recent hurricanes have proven that these new building requirements are working, especially where the buildings have been built to the guidlines for the highest wind zone (Zone 1) and provided that they are sufficiently elevated for flooding. 

Hurricane Proof has been exploring new technologies that provide superior protection from hurricane wind and flooding that are also cost effective and attractive. Our solution is a modular home built with fiberglass-clad SIPs (structural insulated panels).  The challenge for conventional construction is in the building and connecting of multiple components such as foundations, walls, roofs, floors, ceiling, insulation, drywall, and more at an exposed job site using any number of tradesmen. Our seamless, monolithic homes are built in a controlled factory environment using extraordinarily strong SIP panels for the walls, floors and roofs that are fiberglassed together to eliminate joints where wind or water can penetrate.

The SIP panels are varying thicknesses of closed-cell EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam bonded between a hard fiberglass/epoxy exterior shell and an OSB (oriented strand board) interior shell.  This design provides a superior structurally-rigid "sheer wall", which is also lightweight and has exceptional insulation quality.  Impact windows and doors are the same as used in traditional construction.  Electrical connections are provided through wire chases (pvc conduit) built into the panels. Water and sewer lines come up through the floor. Cabinets, shelves and other interior features can be attached anywhere due to the OSB walls.  However, all the details of each home are meticulously computer designed.

Our homes can be quickly built in the factory.  At the same time, the homesite is prepared for delivery and installation. They are truck transported from the factory to the site and typically installed by crane on top of prebuilt pilings or other raised foundation according to the local flood code.  As a factory-built and portable building, our homes have the potential to be legally classified as a modular home (similar to traditional built) or as a manufactured home (similar to mobile home or RV).  As such, they are excellent replacement for a traditional home or mobile home in a hurricane zone.  Imagine a single home type that is hurricane resistant, moisture resistant, fire resistant, insect resistant, deterioration resistant (nothing to rust, rot or corrode), energy efficient and portable. These homes can also be upgraded to a larger home with comparatively little effort.

While we have several designs ranging from single-room "tiny homes" to a 4-story octagonal homes modeled after the sturdy Chesapeake lighthouses, we are launching our introductory model as a 12' wide x 32' long x 12' high residence aimed at replacing a small (single wide) mobile home.  This is a one bedroom, one bathroom design.  An optional loft over the kitchen area can serve as a second bedroom or storage area.  Longer "single wide" versions are being designed, as are double wide options.

12x32 small home:

 

12' x 32 hurricane resistant fiberglass home

 

12' x 32' floorplan (optional loft available over kitchen)

 

interior view from living room of kitchen and loft

 

 

bathroom

 

bedroom

 

 

8.5' x 24' tiny home showroom model