Disaster resilience refers to the ability of buildings to prepare, plan and recover from natural disasters. These strategies can pay off, especially for buildings that are located in areas that are more subject to natural disasters.
The Resilient Design Institute defines resilience as “the capacity to adapt to changing conditions and to maintain or regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or disturbance. It is the capacity to bounce back after a disturbance or interruption.”
With raging wildfires becoming a summertime norm, along with increased tornadic activity and ferocity of storms, resilient building design has never been more important.
Sto Corp is a proud sponsor of the 2018 Pacific Building Trade Expo at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu on November 14, where they will also be exhibiting. The Trade Expo is held in conjunction with the 3-day Hawaii Design Symposium that has been presented by the AIA and Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) for the past 19 years.
The Symposium will bring together some of the most creative architects, landscape architects, planners and design professionals in Hawaii as well as the Northwest and Pacific Region. They will explore this year’s symposium theme: Building Voices: Livable Cities & Communities. The primary focus areas will be: Design in Coastal and Extreme Climatic Conditions; Healthy Citizens & Communities; Community Mobility & Housing for All.
Over 300 local and national vendors will be presenting at the Expo, including Sto Corp (Booth #555p). Sto will be showcasing StoTherm ci systems, StoGuard air and moisture barrier, Sto RapidGuard, and Turbostick– products and solutions to address some of the key issues being discussed at the expo seminars on resilient design and city planning.
Admission to the expo is free to all AEC industry professionals. It’s a good excuse to grab your swimsuit and sun screen and head for the islands!
Hurricane force winds are relentless and, as we’ve learned, they do not differentiate or discriminate. Any structure in the storm’s path may be at risk, and while no building is entirely safe, some are more resistant to damage than others due to resilient design and construction.
So, in the aftermath of a devastating storm, it behooves property owners to carefully assess damaged structures and consider restoration and repairs that will mitigate future storm damage. Whether the plan is to repair, restore or rebuild a storm-ravaged building, there are many solutions today that can help withstand high winds and water damage in the future. In many cases, a relatively small up-front investment can result in big future savings based on losses avoided.
The weather’s not getting better, but builders are getting smarter
Hurricane protection used to be limited to building on pillars to elevate a structure above the flood zones, using wind-resistant concrete block construction and putting up hurricane shutters. Well, we’re a long way from Kansas Toto, and the art of hurricane protection for the built environment has come a long way since then.
New high-performance materials and components and improved construction methods offer much greater resistance to the forces of nature that cause damage. Builders who adopt the best technology for resilient construction and restoration — before and after a hurricane — can help ensure that commercial structures better withstand nature’s fury
Today’s state-of-the-art building materials can help fortify structures against hurricane hazards: winds, flying debris, and flooding from rain or storm surges. Cost-effective, hurricane-resistant building materials and technology do exist and can help the built environment withstand these extreme weather events.
When windows burst from high winds, buildings can pressurize as wind rushes in, popping off the roof. New roof attachment methods can add strength, and spray-foam adhesives (which are applied on the inside of the house’s roof and double as insulation) are rated for higher wind speeds. To deal with flooding, hydrostatic vents can allow water into the home but stop floodwaters from accumulating, potentially degrading its walls and foundation.
A few basic structural upgrades can make for improved performance and help keep coastal structures safe including: properly designed footings, pilings and flow-through designs, a continuous load path to resist wind uplift; strong lateral bracing (or engineered shear walls) to resist the sideways pressure of wind; hardened or protected windows and doors to resist penetration by wind-borne debris. There are also exterior cladding options to protect against storm winds, water intrusion, and wind-borne debris — the leading causes of building envelope failure in hurricanes.
Most of these systems can be installed economically on a variety of construction types, including metal frame with gypsum sheathing, wood or steel frame with plywood sheathing, or concrete masonry. Improved watertight and water-shedding exterior insulation systems that resist rain penetration in storms are also available and come in a variety of decorative and protective wall finishes, offering aesthetics as well as protection against some of the most severe weather conditions in North America.
Lessons Learned – Invest Now for Future Savings
South Florida is the heart of hurricane country and the area where many wind-resistant structural solutions have been introduced, developed, and proven in the field. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Florida codes were the first in the nation to toughen up. And in the heavy hurricane years of 2004 and 2005, Florida’s tougher building practices paid off: newer structures in the state suffered less damage from storm winds than older buildings did. In the Miami-Dade County, Florida area, NOA has established stringent construction criteria for impact resistance, air and water infiltration, and wind load resistance
Building codes are the baseline defense against hurricane damage. Improved building codes in Florida (the most stringent in the nation) after Hurricane Andrew required installing impact windows, using stronger ties between roofs and walls, and securing roof shingles with nails instead of staples. And indeed, newer buildings built to code fared better during Hurricane Irma.
Strong, enforceable building codes play a huge role in prompting architects, engineers and contractors to embrace the concept of resilient design. Texas state officials, with the support of the local building community and regulatory agencies, announced a $61 billion plan to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey devastated the southeast area of the state with wind, rain and floodwaters, and resilient measures are part of the plan.
FEMA has actually proposed policies to incentivize states and municipalities to take a more proactive role in mitigating damage—which will also mitigate recovery and restoration costs. FEMA has also developed publications and guidance on coastal construction in hurricane prone areas published by FEMA’s Building Science Branch.
In addition, the U.S. Green Building Council has adopted a new resilient construction standard called RELi. The new certification system includes some LEED practices and gives property owners points for adaptive design features which mitigate the impact of extreme weather.
A National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) study recently determined that for every federal grant dollar spent on disaster resiliency and mitigation, the U.S. can save an average of six dollars. These are impressive numbers to keep in mind.
Another plus: NIBS also projected that implementing resiliency measures and building to stricter codes could create 87,000 new long-term jobs and increase the use of American-made construction materials by 1%.
The Baha Mar Resort & Casino on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas opened last year with great fanfare and has been a showcase for Sto products used in its construction. Located on Cable Beach, outside the city of Nassau, the new resort was heralded as the largest hospitality project ever built in the Caribbean.
The property covers over 1,000 acres including half a mile of prime beach frontage. The sprawling tropical megacomplex which cost a reported $3.4 billion to build, includes three world-renowned luxury hotel brands: Grand Hyatt, SLS and Rosewood (2,300 rooms in all). It also boasts a conference center and casino (150 tables and 1,500 machines), a spa, racquet club and 18-hole signature golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. There will ultimately be a total of 11 pools, 42 restaurants and bars, and 60,000 square feet of retail with luxury purveyors such as Tiffany’s, Bulgari and Rolex. Oh, and let us not forget the 250 palm trees.
The world-class destination resort is an imposing and impressive landmark on this small Caribbean island. It encompasses three million square feet of construction, 6,000 tons of structural steel, 500,000 sq. ft. of glass, and an abundance of StoTherm exterior insulation (more than 16,000 bags of basecoat alone) and Sto finish products including Stolit® Milano.
The project initially called for stucco exteriors, but when Baha Mar consultants visited the nearby Atlantis resort on Paradise Island and saw the aesthetic caliber and versatility of the exterior insulation finish system (EIFS) used there, as well as the weather- and moisture-resistant properties of EIFS, the specs for Baha Mar were recalibrated. The competition between building material suppliers vying for the job was fierce, but in the end Sto prevailed.
The general contractor CSCEC (China State Construction and Engineering Company) and the project owners were impressed with the personal involvement of Sto’s management team and the company’s tailored solutions. According to Jorge Angel, the Bahamian contractor and applicator who worked on the project for over 5 years, “Sto was chosen due to the quality, versatility and range of their EIFS product line, but also due to their strong presence and reputation worldwide, as well as the caliber of their personalized, hands-on customer service.”
“Having Sto as our allies on this project was the key to our success. They were a tremendous resource” said Angel. His company, KHS&S-iLand (a joint venture between KHS&S contractors in Tampa, Florida and iLand Applicators in the Bahamas), had a huge challenge taking on such a large project on a small Caribbean island. They were working with Chinese, Colombian and American management crews talking in three different languages and all working for the largest construction company in the world (the Beijing-based CSCEC).
“Choosing Sto was the best decision we made,” recalls Angel; “the company’s experience and large presence in the Caribbean and Latin American markets was the right combination we needed. Every time we had an issue, the Sto team proved quick to adjust, responding at the highest level from beginning to end.” Angel also noted that in addition to the exemplary Sto service provided, the Sto exterior continuous insulation system and finishes have withstood the test of time and adverse weather including the harsh tropical heat and two horrific hurricanes (Matthew and Irma).
The StoTherm® ci and StoGuard® waterproof air barrier system have done what they were designed to do — provide protection against moisture intrusion and promote improved energy efficiency. Baha Mar has withstood 100 mph winds; its cladding, decorative architectural features, and multi-colored finishes have fared well in the tropical climes.
The StoTherm systems and finishes have proven to offer so many advantages and benefits – resiliency, efficiency and beauty –that they will be used again in the restoration of the adjacent 700-room Melia hotel – a companion property to the Baha Mar that will tower above a tourist-pleasing eco-water park.