Building to Withstand Hurricanes
ScienceDaily (June 22, 2010) — Rima Taher, an expert in thedesign of low-rise buildings for extreme winds and hurricane,hopes her phone won't ring much this hurricane season. It'salready been busy with requests for information about bestbuilding design and construction practices to reduce windpressures on building surfaces.In the aftermath of the January earthquake in Haiti, Taher, a civiland structural engineer at the NJIT College of Architecture andDesign, prepared a document for Architecture for Humanityabout best building practices for hurricane and earthquake-proneareas. It's posted on the organization's Haiti Reconstructionwebsite and still circulates in Haiti. More recently, shecooperated with wind researchers at Tokyo PolytechnicUniversity, Japan, to develop and translate from French abrochure for UNESCO to help Haitians prepare for the upcominghurricane season. UNESCO will distribute the brochure in Haiti.In 2007 Taher's article about the design of low-rise buildings forextreme wind events appeared in the
Journal of Architectural Engineering
of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Anotherarticle on improved building practices for hurricanes appeared in
Caribbean Construction Magazine
in July of 2009."Certain home shapes and roof types can make a big difference,"is a common refrain in all her work.Her recommendations include the following.•Design buildings with square, hexagonal or evenoctagonal ﬂoor plans with roofs of multiple slopes suchas a four-sloped hip roof. These roofs perform betterunder wind forces than the gable roofs with two slopes.Gable roofs are common only because they are cheaperto build. Research and testing demonstrate that a 30-degree roof slope will have the best results.•Wind forces on a roof tend to uplift it. "This explainswhy roofs blow off during extreme wind events," Tahersaid. To combat uplift, she advises connecting roofs towalls strongly with nails, not staples. Stapled roofs werebanned in Florida after Hurricane Andrew. The use of hurricane clips is recommended. The choice of rooﬁng isimportant. Different rooﬁng systems perform differentlyunder hurricane conditions. In tile roofs, loose tiles oftenbecome wind-borne debris threatening other structures.•Aim for strong connections between the structure andfoundation. Structural failure-- one structural elementtriggering the collapse of another -- can be progressive.•Hurricane shutters can protect glazing from wind-bornedebris. Various designs are available.•Roof overhangs are subject to wind uplift forces whichcould trigger a roof failure. In the design of thehurricane-resistant home, the length of these overhangsshould be limited to about 20 inches.•The design of the researched cyclonic home includessimple systems to reduce the local wind stresses at theroof's lower edges such as a notched frieze or ahorizontal grid. Install the latter at the level of the guttersalong the homes' perimeter.•An elevated structure on an open foundation reduces therisk of damage from ﬂooding and storm-driven water. Allfoundation piles must be strengthened by bracing andshould penetrate deep enough into the soil to reduce therisk of scour.
The Right Hire Introduces Market Trends as Reported by Companies Around theIndustryBy Matt PlotkinPresident, The Right Hire
I sincerely hope you've been enjoying Infrastructure Monthly. Every month we do our best to provide aninformative collection of articles to educate our audience. As a recruiter and business owner, I try tokeep my finger on the pulse of what's coming in the months ahead.Lately, I've noticed an uptick in jobs within the Construction and Civil Engineering fields. It seems aftermonths of job losses, there arguably are better times ahead. In addition to writing pulitzer prizewinning articles, in the next couple of months I'm going to start a new section about industry trends.As much as I talk to people in the industry everyday, both to companies and interviewing top talent,one man alone cannot gage the entire industry as a whole. I'm asking for your assistance in this task,and have put together a survey that will help us to better understand what's next for this industry. Afterall, knowledge is power and that’s what we strive to give to you.The first rounds of surveys have gone out, and we are analyzing them to discover the trends that havebeen occurring in the market. We appreciate all the responses we have received and will be publishingthe first round of trends starting next month. Thank you again to everyone that has been participating,and we ask everyone who receives the survey this month to take a minute and reply for the benefit of the infrastructure industry.