Pilot Project – Wind Safety
The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and Doug Tarry Homes Ltd. are pleased to announce a pilot project aimed at increasing the resilience of homes to high wind and tornado events. The pilot will result in the installation of risk reduction measures in 100 new homes in the Harvest Run Community, located in St. Thomas, Ontario.
High winds contributed in part to most natural catastrophes recorded by the Insurance Bureau of Canada between 1983 and 2016. The May 2018 windstorm, for example, in southern Ontario and Quebec, followed by tornadoes in the National Capital Region in September 2018, caused close to $1 billion in insured losses, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc.
Measures to be incorporated into the homes are based on extensive research conducted at Western University, largely under the leadership of Prof. Gregory Kopp. The pilot will focus on basic measures intended to assist in addressing key structure vulnerability factors that have been identified by academic research, including laboratory studies and post-tornado damage inspections.
“Our work has routinely indicated that roofs and roof structures are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of high wind, including events up to EF2 tornadoes” noted Prof. Kopp. “The impacts of high wind can be substantially reduced if roof structures remain intact.” Measures will include enhanced roof sheathing fasteners, and enhanced connections between roof framing and supporting walls.
The measures are intended to help protect both individual building structures and neighbouring buildings, through reduction of flying debris during high wind and tornado events. The measures will further serve to increase resilience of the community, through reduction of time and resources required to recover in the event of a wind related disaster.
The pilot will generate new information related the experience of builders with the implementation of the wind resistance measures, and will provide practical lessons relevant for the building industry across Canada.
Doug Tarry, stated “On behalf of Doug Tarry Homes, we are honoured to be working with ICLR and Western Engineering to improve the wind resistance of homes built in Ontario. We recognize that climate change is resulting in more frequent, and more severe, wind events. The results of this pilot project will be the field testing and improvement of construction details and techniques that will enable our industry to cost effectively improve our roof to wall connections to be able to withstand an EF2 tornado. The vast majority of wind events in Ontario are EF2 or less. We appreciate the support of our fellow builders for committing to this project and look forward to sharing our collective results and commentary with the residential construction industry and industry stakeholders.”
“We are very happy to be working with a group of progressive builders to improve our knowledge of practical and technical issues associated with increasing high wind resistance for homes,” noted Paul Kovacs, Executive Director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. “This project will provide critical information on the practical aspects of increasing wind resistance for homes, which will assist in ICLR’s work to increase disaster safety for residents across Canada.”
About the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
Established in 1997 by Canada’s property and casualty insurers, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Toronto and at Western University in London, Canada. The International Council for Science designated the Institute as an International Centre of Excellence in integrated research on disaster risk. The Institute is also a founding member of the Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes. The Institute’s research staff are internationally recognized for pioneering work in a number of fields including wind and seismic engineering, atmospheric sciences, water resources engineering and economics. Multi-disciplined research is a foundation for the Institute’s work to build communities more resilient to disasters.