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Florida is one of the states most affected by tropical storms and hurricanes in the US. Usually the formations happen in the Caribbean region, starting as a tropical storm, and can gain strength until becoming hurricanes with devastating winds, which reach category 5 (winds with more than 120 miles per hour). The good news is that new construction in Florida follows new hurricane-proof technology, and there are also more protected areas in the central part of the state that are rarely hit by the strongest storms. That’s why it’s important to know where to invest in Florida and also give preference to properties that adopt the latest construction techniques. In this article we explain how new hurricane-proof constructions work. Keep reading to understand!
Know that hurricanes are predictable and monitorable phenomena, unlike other natural tragedies that happen suddenly, such as earthquakes, for example. This allows authorities to detect the phenomenon well in advance and prepare the population.
If you want to know everything about Florida hurricanes go to the article: Hurricane Season in Florida: Everything you need to know.
How real estate is usually built in the US
Most homes in the United States are built with wood, which brings a more attractive cost for developers, in addition to allowing the project to be completed more quickly. Wood also offers better thermal and acoustic insulation, another great advantage, especially in regions of the USA where winter is more severe.
The big disadvantage is that this type of construction is more fragile. In the event of a very strong storm, such as a hurricane, these buildings tend to suffer considerable damage.
Invest in Hurricane Proof Real Estate prepared for major storms in Florida
In 1992, South Florida was devastated by Hurricane Andrew, bringing damages of tens of billions of dollars in insurance claims, plus more than 20 deaths recorded in Florida, Louisiana and the Bahamas. His passing aroused in the American authorities the urgency of a revision in the construction rules of the United States. A new code of laws was created for the construction sector.
The new building rules have as their main objective to minimize the damage caused by the passage of a hurricane. Rules change depending on the region. Regions more exposed to storms (close to the coast) must follow stricter procedures. The idea is to keep the building standing, prevent roofs from being ripped off and also prevent splinters of window glass and pieces of doors from being blown away in the wind. Fragments of glass and shards of materials from houses become deadly projectiles when thrown over 120 miles per hour.
The new code drastically reduced the levels of destruction caused by new hurricanes in Florida. Today the damage is limited to flooding and damage to old buildings (before the new rules). Also, the code has been revised from time to time, and improved.
Some developers in Florida, especially geared towards the luxury segment, go far beyond the new rules. This is the case of the Porsche Design Tower luxury condominium in Sunny Isles Beach, which can experience category 5 hurricanes (winds above 200 km/h). The Porsche Tower in Miami even offers a car lift, which allows the owner to park their vehicle inside the apartment. With this, the car is also protected!
Watch in this video a CNBC interview with the builder Gil Dezer, regarding the construction of the Porsche Tower and the anti-hurricane technology used.
Even Disney parks and resorts have taken this technology into account. Cinderella Castle, for example, was built to function as stronger storms and hurricanes. Some say that Disney resorts are some of the safest places to protect yourself in the event of a hurricane, precisely because they are built hurricane-proof.
PLEASE NOTE: Do not proceed with your travel plans to destinations known to have received hurricane passing alerts. For guidance on how to handle hurricane situations, contact the destination’s official agencies. To help follow a Disney link with questions in hurricane situations: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/en-us/faq/hurricane-policy/
How Anti-Hurricane Technology Works
Let’s look at the main building changes after the new Florida code:
Concrete walls and hurricane proof structures
Concrete is one of the most resistant materials to the strong winds of a tropical storm. The new rules encourage buildings to replace the traditional Wood Frame (wood) on the outside walls with concrete. Some buildings in Miami, with anti-hurricane technology, have a concrete exoskeleton in their structure.
As mentioned, wood (wood frame) brings a great advantage which is the acoustic and thermal insulation. Concrete no longer has the same performance in this regard. A material that can replace wood is EPS (expanded polystyrene). EPS also offers great thermal and acoustic performance and can even be filled with concrete. In addition, wall insulation over concrete provides an extra layer of protection, absorbing most of the impact of debris blown out by the winds.
One of the biggest problems due to major storms and hurricanes is flooding, due to the large amount brought by heavy rains. For this reason, new houses are built with a certain elevation, reducing the chances of internal flooding. The new buildings are also made with reinforced foundations and intelligent drainage systems.
The new code also specifies how the roofs of houses must be constructed so that they can withstand strong winds and not be ripped out.
High impact windows for Hurricane Proof Homes
The windows are the first to be shattered, sending shards of glass flying through the air, extremely sharp and lethal fragments, especially if flying at speeds of over 200 km/h. In addition, when destroyed, they expose the interior of homes, allowing the entry of strong winds and water, which will travel through the closed environment, creating an interior pressure that can break other windows, raise the roof or even knock down the walls, depending on the fragility of the materials employees in construction. For this reason, protecting windows is one of the most important measures during hurricane periods.
The new self-impact windows are usually built with double tempered glass, and an insufilm in the middle, making the separation. They are able to withstand the first impact of a very strong wind. Eventually, the tempered glass can shatter, but it will stick to the insufilm sheet, maintaining the seal and protecting the interior of the house. Homes with high-impact windows usually earn a bonus at the time of taking out home insurance.
Doors must open to the outside and be secured with at least three reinforced hinges.
Be aware of the “Florida Building Code”
In this link you can download the new code for the state of Florida.
Want to know how to invest in hurricane proof properties in Florida?
AMG International Realty is a luxury full-service brokerage firm specializing in Florida. If you want to know more about safe and hurricane-proof investments in Florida, contact us now now and chat with me on WhatsApp: +1 305 318 6968 (Heloisa Arazi).