Ever wonder if your home would survive a class four hurricane? The Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) is building a new world-class disaster research center just outside of Chester, South Carolina with plans of having the lab fully operational later this year.
Allison Dean Love, External Relations Consultant tells that the objectives of the research facility are “to be testing structures for things like wind, hail, fire and water.” Love says it’s all about safety, “and all about helping people to reduce losses and not have the disruptions in our lives.”
The mission of the lab is to identify and evaluate effective ways to reduce and prevent property damage from natural and man-made causes. Love says that the research will help promote effective ways to reduce and prevent property damage from natural and man-made causes. “We’re going to be producing a lot of research and looking at the data that’s produced by the research center. We’ll be looking at the various components of the building, the materials, the design of the building -which will really help with future construction.”
(Allison Dean Love MP3 :47)
Allison Dean Love MP3 :47
The test chamber is massive with equipment capable of generating realistic conditions like those in a hurricane. Among the equipment that will help produce the effects of high winds are 105 electric fans, each of which is nearly six feet in diameter. “We’ll be looking first at the effects of wind on the building design and on the building materials. We’re going to have more than one-hundred fans that are over six-feet in diameter that will simulate up to category three and four hurricane wind speed. Eventually we’ll also be adding in hail and water and fire to the equation as well, and continuing to test those building materials and those different designs of the building,” said Love.
“The homes that will be tested will be built to the current code, but we’ll also be aging some of the homes as well. That way we can test the homes after they have gotten older, which is very important for people who have older model homes. This will help them to know how to retrofit their homes and to prevent damage from the different things we’ll be testing for.”
Love says that this is the first research center of it’s kind, in the world, that has full scale models and structures for testing. The insurance industry is funding this project in its entirety for more than $40-million. Research findings by the IBHS will provide an objective, scientific foundation for the development of public policy such as building codes.